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THE following pages are not intended to be either 
an exhaustive description of the Alps or a series of 
impressions of travel amongst them. But they do claim 
to offer to the reader an account of the most interesting 
features presented by the Alps from several points of 
view, and an account that is based on the personal expe- 
riences of over forty years' wandering through almost 
every district of the great chain. 

No attempt has been made to explain how the Alps 
came into being, or how in the course of long ages their 
outlines and valleys may have changed. They are taken 
as they exist in the early twentieth century, and treated 
as practically unchangeable. In the early chapters they 
are looked at from the physical side, — their extent, their 
pastures, their glaciers, their flowers, and their beasts and 
birds being successively described. Then we come to 
Man in the Alps, first man in himself as a human being 
actually inhabiting various districts of the chain, speaking 
divers languages, and professing several forms of belief, 
and next man as the subject of political vicissitudes of 
history, which naturally have affected his home as well as 
himself In particular, an attempt has been made to 
trace out the political or territorial history of the chief 
summits of the Alps. In later chapters Man is con- 


sidered in his relation to the principal passes across the 
Alps, and as the explorer of the innermost recesses of the 
High or snowy Alps, this naturally entailing some 
notice of the Guides of the Alps, through whose efforts 
and loyalty the High Alps were gradually conquered. A 
short chapter sketches the impressions made at different 
seasons of the year on one who dwells among them, or 
who often visits them. 

In the final chapter of the work the Alps, hitherto 
looked at as a whole, are considered in detail as forming 
twenty groups, with divers characteristic features. In 
the Appendix, Lists are given of the heights of the prin- 
cipal peaks and passes of the Alps, arranged in the twenty 
groups enumerated above, of the dates of the successive 
conquests of the more important summits, and of some of 
the books relating to the chain as a whole that can be 
recommended to readers desiring to examine the subject 
more closely. 

I desire to lay special stress upon the fact that com- 
paratively little has been said in these pages as to matters 
of Natural Science connected with the Alps. Such sub- 
jects are best studied in more special treatises, while the 
present work aims only at giving a general account of the 
Alps without trying to explain or to investigate the 
natural phenomena which are to be found therein. 
Thanks to two well-qualified friends, to whom I here 
offer my heartiest acknowledgments for their help, the 
Flowers of the Alps, as well as their Beasts and Birds, 
are treated of in a manner which should prove attractive 
to many readers. But here again things are described as 
they are at present, and not the evolution of things, how- 
ever interesting such a subject may be. 

I have also to thank Mr. D. C. Lathbury most sincerely 


for the courtesy which has allowed me to make use of 
various articles contributed by me in 1901-1903 to the 
Pilot. A portion of their contents is included in 
Chapter XL, as well as in groups 1-8 and ii of the special 
description of the Alps given in the final chapter of the 

The Map that accompanies this work has been care- 
fully prepared by Mr. Bartholomew, and is designed to 
afford a bird's-eye view of the Alpine chain, with its prin- 
cipal peaks, passes, and glaciers, the main idea being to 
mark the way in which the mountains rise gradually out 
of the plains till they culminate in lofty snow-clad 

The Illustrations are, for the most part, reproductions 
after admirable photographs of Signor Vittorio Sella, to 
whom I beg to express my hearty thanks for permitting 
me to adorn my book with some of his marvellous views 
of the High Alps. A few other Illustrations are due to 
the kindness of several friends, Mr. Alfred Holmes, 
Monsieur Victor de Cessole, and Signor Guido Rey, who 
have placed them at my disposition, and whom I beg to 
assure of my great appreciation of their readiness to 
oblige, for it is not easy to procure certain of these views. 

In general I am immensely indebted to my friend, 
Dr. R. L. Poole (Member of the British Academy, and 
Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford) for much help and 
advice, particularly as regards the historical Chapters 
(VII. and VIII.). He suggested to me the idea of framing 
diagrams by which to make clear the relations of the 
Great Historical Passes of the Alps. Thanks to the 
skill of Mr. Darbishire, this excellent suggestion has been 
carried out in a manner that will be most acceptable to 
my readers. 


I have also to acknowledge, most gratefully, help of 
various kinds, whether in the shape of reading proofs or 
of giving valuable hints, rendered by four other friends : 
Sir Martin Conway, Mr. Douglas W. Freshfield, Mr. W. M. 
Baker, and Herr H. Diibi. 

W. A. B. C. 

Grindelwald, April 1908. 













IV. ALPINE FLOWERS. By George Yeld, . 

Howard V. Knox, .... 


1. Political Allegiance, 

2. Mother Tongues, 

3. Religions, .... 

General History up to 1033, 

1. The Western Alps, 

(i) The House of Savoy, 

(2) The Dauphins of the Vicnnois, 

(3) Provence, .... 
Political Peaks, .... 

2. The Central Alps, 

A. The Struggle with the Milanese, 

(a) Val d'Ossola, . 
{d) Bellinzona, Locarno, and Lugano, 
[c) The Valtelline, 
Political Peaks, 

B. The Struggle towards the North, 

(a) The Vallais and Berne, 

{d) Uri, .... 

(c) The Grisons, 

3. The Eastern Alps, 
(i) Their Occupation by the Habsburgers, 

A. The 'Swiss Phase' of the Family, . 


















B. The 'Austrian Phase,'. 

{a) Austria proper, Carniola, and Stj'ria, . 
(d) Carinthia, .... 

(c) The Tyrol, .... 

C. The 'Venetian Phase,' 
The Alpine Lands of the Habsburgers during the 

Napoleonic Era, .... 

(ii) The Bavarian Highlands, 
Political Peaks, ...... 


Passes Known to the Romans, .... 

1. Great Passes in the Western Alps, 

2. Great Passes in the Central Alps, 

3. Great Passes in the Eastern Alps, 


THE END OF 1865, 

1. Ascents made before 1760, 

2. Ascents made between 1760 and c. 1800, 

3. Ascents made between r. 1800 and c. 1840, 

4. Ascents made between c. 1840 and 1865, 




A. The Main Divisions, 

B. The Principal Groups, 

I. Western Alps, . 

1. Maritime Alps, 

2. Cottian Alps, 

3. Dauphine Alps, 

4. Graian Alps, . 

5. Chain of Mont Blanc (Western Pennine Alps), 

6. Central Pennine Alps, 

7. Eastern Pennine Alps, 

II. Central Alps, . 

8. Bernese Alps, 




















9. Lepontine Alps, 

10. The Range of the Todi, 

11. The Alps of North-East Switzerland, 

12. Bernina Alps, 

13. Albula Group, 

14. Silvretta and Rhatikon Group, 

III. Eastern Alps, 

15. The Alps of Bavaria, the Vorarlberg, and Salzburg 

16. Ortler, Oetzthal, and Stubai Ranges, 

17. Lombard Alps, .... 

18. Central Tyrolese Alps, ... 

19. The Dolomites of the South Tyrol, . 

20. South-Eastern Alps, . 






I. List of the Principal Peaks and Passes in the Alps, 

II. Select List of the Principal Peaks in the Alps 

arranged according to the Date at which they 

were first Conquered, ..... 

III. List of the Principal Works relating to the Alps, . 








SAN MARTINO, ..... Frontispiece 

(This peak rises S. of the Pala di San Martino, and therefore 
E. of the valley of Primiero, over which it towers grandly. The 
summit seen to the left is the higher, 9239 ft., while the lower, 
the Cima della Madonna, 9026 ft., rises to the right hand of the 
spectator. Together they form one of the most daring and im- 
posing of the Dolomites. The ascent of both points is very 
difficult, the easiest way being up the N. face, that seen in our 
view, to the gap between the two summits. The point in the fore- 
ground is the Cima di Ball, 9131 ft., which takes its name from 
the famous English mountain explorer). 



(It is nearly impossible to get a good view of the S.W. side of 
this range, except from the top of the Finsteraarhorn, which rises 
to the S. The long ridge of the Strahlegghorner, 11,444 ft. — the 
pass of the Strahlegg is just not seen — leads up to the foot of our 
range, and divides the Strahlegg Glacier, seen on the right of the 
spectator, from the upper basin, not seen, of the Lower Grindel- 
wald Glacier. In the main range itself we have, going from left to 
right, abit oftheGwachten, 10,397 ft. ; the Gwachtenjoch, 10,365 
ft.; the Klein Schreckhorn, 11,474 ft. ; the Nassijoch, 11,221 ft. 
the Nassihorn ridge, 12,300 ft. ; the Gross Schreckhorn, 13,386 ft. 
the Schrecksattel, 13,052 ft. ; the Gross Lauteraarhorn, 13,265 ft. 
the Klein Lauteraarhorn, 12,277 ft., and the other points on the 
ridge dividing the Strahlegg Glacier from the Lauteraar Glacier. 
Behind our range is seen that separating the Lauteraar Glacier 
from the Gauli Glacier, and still more in the background the 
ridge that limits on N. the Gauli Glacier itself). 




Opposite page 15 

(This, the most famous of all glacier lakes, lies at a height of 
7766 ft., and at the N. foot of the well-known view-point of the 
Eggishorn, in the Vallais. It occupies part of the nearly level 
depression separating the Fiescher Glacier from the Gross Aletsch 
Glacier, which holds in the lake on the W. Icebergs generally 
float upon its surface. Despite a drainage channel to protect the 
pastures to the E. of the lake its waters occasionally escape 
towards the W. by .sub-glacial channels and then flood the en- 
virons of Brieg. To the left of the spectator a bit of the Mittel 
Aletsch Glacier is seen, then comes the black peak of the Olmen- 
horn, 10,886 ft., beyond which is the long ridge of the Dreieck- 
horn, 12,540 ft.). 


GRAIANS), ..... Opposite page 23 

(A typical crevasse on a little known Italian glacier). 


THE DZASSET GLACIER, . . . Opposite page ^t, 

(This fine rocky peak, 12,396 ft., though far from being the 
loftiest summit in its district, is by many considered to be the 
most striking peak of the region. It is here seen from the S.E., 
the very jagged ridge, on the left of the spectator, being the 
famous S. arete, which affords a delightful series of exciting 
difficulties to rock climbers). 

HORN, ..... Opposite page 46 

(In the foreground we see the delicate snow crest that forms 
the summit of the Blumlisalphorn, 12,044 ft. Behind it are the 
various peaks named, going from left to right. Beyond the great 
opening of the Lauithor, 12,140 ft., to the right of the Jungfrau, 
the Fiescherhorner, 13,285 ft., and the Finsteraarhorn, 14,026 ft., 
are seen in the background. To the right of the Lauithor, in the 
middle distance, stretches the long snowy ridge, crowned by the 
Gletscherhorn, 13,065 ft., the Ebnefluh, 13,006 ft., and the 
Mittaghorn, 12,779 ft., which closes the head of the Lauter- 
brunnen valley, and forms such a conspicuous feature in the well- 
known view from the frequented village of Miirren). 




(The Fallerhorn, 10,270 ft., is a fine view-point in the ridge 
separating the Val Sesia, S.E., from the Val Anzasca, E., and 
running S.E. from the main mass of Monte Rosa. The upper 
portion of this ridge is shown, on our view, from the Monte delle 
Loccie, 11,477 ft- (just seen on the extreme right of the spectator), 
past the depression of the Col delle Loccie, 11,001 ft., over the 
rocky hump of the Punta dei Tre Amici, 11,618 ft., to the 
Signaljoch, 12,441 ft., whence it rises sharply to the summit, 
the Signalkuppe or Punta Gnifetti, 14,965 ft., which occupies 
the centre of the picture. The greater part of our view (to the 
left of the spectator) shows the glaciers and peaks at the head of 
the Val Sesia. Going from left to right we see the rocky Punta 
Giordani, 13,304 ft., and the snowy Vincent Pyramide, 13,829 ft., 
beyond which is the depression of the Colle Vincent, 13,652 ft. 
Thence we mount over the minor summits of the Schwarzhorn, 
13,882 ft. — which hides the Balmenhorn, 13,500 ft. — and of the 
Ludwigshohe, 14,259 ft., to the snowy dome of the Parrotspitze, 
14,643 ft. Just beyond is the great couloir leading up to the 
Sesiajoch, 14,515 ft., long the loftiest pass ever crossed in the 
Alps, and then rises the Signalkuppe, which hides the Colle 
Gnifetti, 14,699 ft., and the Zumsteinspitze, 15,004 ft. The 
next snowy gap is the Zumsteinsattel, 14,601 ft., beyond which 
the rocky point of the Dufourspitze or highest summit of Monte 
Rosa, 15,217 ft., peers over the watershed and frontier — for it 
rises on a spur to the W. of both. The wide opening of the 
Silbersattel, 14,732 ft. — at present the loftiest pass yet crossed 
in the Alps— leads the eye on to the Nord End, 15,132 ft. The 
smaller portion of our view, from the Zumsteinsattel to the Nord 
End, shows the E. face of Monte Rosa, that forms such a magnifi- 
cent spectacle from Macugnaga at the head of the Val Anzasca). 


Opposite page 75 
From a Photograph by Alfred Holmes. 
(The former of these peaks, 13,462 ft., is the loftiest point of 
the Dauphine Alps, while the latter, 12,323 ft., rises to its S., 
and is one of the finest view-points in the region. The S.W. 
slope of both is here shown. To the left hand of the spectator is 
the Ecrins, followed by the narrow notch of the Col des Aval- 
anches, 11,520 ft., whence it is often ascended. Next to the right 
comes the rock tower of the Fifre, 12,074 ft., which, like the Pic 


Coolidge, just beyond, was first climbed by Mr. Coolidge, the 
lower point in 1881, the higher in 1877. The Pic Coolidge 
formerly bore several names, but received its present appellation 
in 1879 from some French mountaineers who desired to com- 
memorate the long-continued explorations of the author of these 
pages in the district). 


GLACIER, ..... Opposite page %^ 

From a Photograph by Alfred Holmes. 

(This summit, 11, 979 ft., is the loftiest that rises in the ranges 
which form the S. limit of the main or Pelvoux group of the 
Dauphine Alps. It is finely situated at the meeting-point of three . 
Alpine glens, those of Pilatte, of Entraigues, and of the Val- 
gaudemar. It was first climbed in 1878 by Mr. Coolidge from 
the snowy gap, the Col des Bans, 11,090 ft., that is seen to the 
left of the peak. Some way farther to the left, but invisible on 
this view, is the more famous Col de la Pilatte, 11,057 ft., which 
was first crossed in 1864 by Messrs A. W. Moore, H. Walker, 
and E. Whymper. The great Pilatte Glacier which fills the fore- 
ground is one of the finest in the Dauphine Alps, and is the main 
source of the Veneon, the stream that flows down from the loftiest 
summits of the region). 


HERBETET, ..... Opposite page <)i 

(The real height and majesty of Mont Blanc, 15,782 ft., are 
always best realised when it is seen from the South, as then it 
towers up in solitary grandeur, flanked by its satellites. It here 
occupies the centre, the Mont Maudit, 14,669 ft., and the Mont 
Blanc du Tacul, 13,941 ft., to the right of the spectator, leading 
the eye on to the depression of the Col du Geant. The long and 
narrow glacier to the left below Mont Blanc is that of Brouillard, 
while more to the right is that of the Brenva, one of the most 
magnificent glaciers in the Alps). 


AIGUILLE DU G^ANT, . . . Opposite page 203 

(This view is a pendant to our other view of the Monarch of 
Mountains, which is here seen from the S.E. across the great 
opening of the Col du Geant. The summit below Mont Blanc 
is the Tour Ronde, 12,441 ft. To the left of the spectator and 


of Mont Blanc the rocky Aiguille Noire de Peteret, 12,402 ft., 
half hidden in mist, leads the eye on over the sharp rock needles 
named the Dames Anglaises, 11,825 ft- — the last great peak in 
the Alps to be conquered, for it held out till 1907 — to the splendid 
Aiguille Blanche de Peteret, 13,482 ft.)- 


MURAILLES, ..... Opposite page 2y^ 

(Our view shows one of the most impressive aspects of this 
famous peak, 14,782 ft., being taken from the W.S.W. To the 
left of the spectator is the so-called 'Zmutt arete,' by which a 
very difficult route has been forced to the summit, while to the 
right of this grim ridge are seen the gaunt precipices of the W. 
face of the peak. More to the right is the S.W. face, up which 
leads the ordinary route from the Italian side, over the con- 
spicuous shoulder of the Pic Tyndall, to the summit. Far more 
to the right are the upper snows of the Gorner Glacier, to the 
right of which rise the highest summits of Monte Rosa itself). 


EBNEFLUHJOCH, .... Opposite page 261 

(This is an unusual view of the Jungfrau, 13,669 ft., one of the 
best-known summits of the Alps. It is taken from the Ebnefluh- 
joch, 12,304 ft., to its S.W. The cliffs to the left of the spectator 
fall down into the wild Roththal glen, ill-famed as the haunt of 
many spirits. Far to the left a bit of the Silberhorn, 12,156 ft., 
is seen, and then the gap of the Silberllicke. Above, on the 
shoulder of the Jungfrau, is the snow-field, named ' Hochfirn,' 
which is traversed on the way up the peak from the Little Scheid- 
egg by way of the Silberllicke, and, still higher, is the top of the 
Jungfrau itself. The S.E. arete of the peak, up which goes the 
ordinary route from the Roththalsattel, 12,655 ft., leads the eye 
down to that depression — the upper portion of the great snow 
couloir on the S.W. side of which is seen — whence the ridge 
mounts again to the Roththalhorn, 12,947 ft.) 


FROM THE COL LOMBARD, . , Opposite page 269 

From a Photograph by Victor de Cessole. 

(This summit is the most southerly of the three Aiguilles d'Arves, 
and is by many believed to be the highest of the three sisters, 
11,529 ft. They rise, just in Savoy, between the valleys of St. 



Jean d'Arves, to the N.W., and that of Valloire to the E. Our 
view shows the S. face of the peak, the two small snow-filled 
gullies, just to the right hand of the final rocky mass, giving access 
to the S.E. arete, which is crossed, in order to complete the 
ascent, first made in 1878 by Mr. Coolidge, by the E. face). 


Opposite page 292 
From a Photograph by GuiDO Rey. 

(Monte Viso, 12,609 ft-j is not only the loftiest summit of the 
Cottian range, but is also the one great peak in the Alps which is 
mentioned by name by the writers of classical antiquity — it is so 
conspicuous from the plain of Piedmont that it has always been 
the ' visible mount.' Our view shows its N.E. face, which was 
first climbed by Mr. Coolidge in 1881, while below the summit is 
seen the glacier that is the real source of the Po. To the right of 
the spectator is the triple-pointed Visolotto, 11,101 ft., also 
conquered by Mr. Coolidge in 1881). 


Opposite page 297 

(The Meije, the second in height of the Dauphine Alps, is 
here seen towering above the Etan9ons Glacier that extends at its 
S. base. To the left of the spectator is the deep depression of 
the Breche de la Meije (10,827 ft.). More to the right is the 
small hanging glacier, named the Glacier Carre, below which the 
' Promontoire ' spur stretches far into the Etan9ons Glacier. To 
the right of the Glacier Carre is the Grand Pic (13,081 ft.) of 
the Meije, connected by a toothed ridge with the Pic Central or 
DoigtdeDieu (13,025 ft.). Beyond the ridge sinks to the Breche 
Joseph Turc (12,697 ft-)? and then rises to the (invisible) Pic 
Oriental (12,832 ft.) of the Meije). 


GRAND TAV6, .... Opposite page i\i 

(The Grand Combin rises to the N.E. of the Great St. Bernard 
Pass, and is the only peak over 14,000 ft. — with the exception of 
the Finsteraarhorn, 14,026 ft. in the Bernese Oberland — that 
is to be found outside the Chain of Mont Blanc and the Monte 
Rosa district. It is here seen, from its least steep side, rising 
above the glorious Corbassiere Glacier. Of the two highest 
snowy horns, that to the left of the spectator is the Pointe de 


Graffeneire, 14,108 ft., and that to the right, the Aiguille du 
Croissant, 14,164 ft., the culminating summit of the mountain. 
These two horns are only about 15 minutes' walk distant from 
each other. More to the right of the spectator is the Combin de 
Valsorey, 13,600 ft., whence the ridge falls away to the opening 
of the Col des Maisons Blanches, 11,241 ft., which leads from 
the very head of the Corbassiere Glacier to Bourg St. Pierre, on 
the Great St. Bernard road). 


THE FELLARIA GLACIER, . . Opposite page IZS 

(This fine peak, 12,067 ft., rises as a great spur to the S.W. of 
the main Bernina group, and is wholly in Italy. Its N.E. face, 
with the Ventina Glacier, is here shown, the view being taken 
from the great Fellaria Glacier, which lies on the S. slope of the 
central Bernina Alps). 


(The Ortler, 12,802 ft., is the culminating summit of the Tyrol, 
as well as of the Eastern Alps. We here admire its S. side, the 
eye passing over the depression of the Hochjoch, 11,602 ft. — the 
highest pass in the Eastern Alps — and then following the very 
difficult S. arete— first forced in 1875— which leads to the highest 
snow plateau and so to the corniched summit of the peak. This 
arete, in its entirety, like the Ortler itself, is wholly in the Tyrol. 
The slopes to the left of this arete fall towards the Italian Zebru 
glen. Those to the right descend towards the Tyrolese valley of 
Sulden, the ridge far to the right being named the * Hinter Grat,' 
and having been climbed as early as 1805 on occasion of the 
second ascent of the peak). 


ROSETTA, ..... opposite page T,66 

(The Pala di San Martino, 9831 ft., has been compared to a 
mountain castle. It rises to the S. E. of San Martino di Castrozza, 
and to the N.E. of the village of Primiero. Despite its relatively 
small height it offers one of the more difficult climbs in the Dolo- 
mites, which is effected up the N.W. wall here shown — this is the 
easiest of the three routes known up the peak, and that by which 
it was first conquered in 1878. The point in the foreground, 
between the Rosetta and the peak, is the Cima di Roda, 
9121 ft.). 



I. From the Mediterranean to the 
Pass, ..... 


II. The Mont Genevre and the Mont Cenis Passes 

III. The Passes over the Pennine Alps, 

IV. The St. Gotthard Region, 
V. The Passes from Coire to Milan, 

VI. The Brenner and the Passes to its West, 
VII. The Brenner and the Passes to its East, 



To face p. 















General Map of the Alps 








IT is tolerably certain that most readers of these pages 
will not feel the slightest hesitation in answering the 
question which forms the title of this chapter. 'The Alps,' 
so they will state with the utmost confidence, is, of course, the 
name given to the principal mountain range in Europe. Can 
there be any doubt on this point ? they will ask, with a spice 
of incredulity. Have we all along been deceived or taken in by 
this word ? or has the writer set us a conundrum ? The latter 
alternative may be at once dismissed. But the former contains 
a germ of truth, and perhaps also a gHmmering idea on the 
part of the questionists that their belief is not so solidly based 
as they fondly imagined. No doubt the sense of the term 
indicated above is that which is most widely accepted by those 
who do not dwell amid the mountains, and are therefore far 
more numerous than the Alpine folk. But if we look a little 
further into the matter, we shall discover that the inhabitants 
of the Alps attribute to the name we are considering a mean- 
ing which is quite distinct from that already noted. When they 
speak of ' the Alps ' they have in mind the highland summer 
pastures, that extend along the mountain slopes below the 
snow-line, yet at a considerable height above the village itself. 
To the Alpine folk, as we shall have occasion to point out in 
the next chapter, ' the Alps ' in this sense are of overwhelming 



practical importance, for the highland summer pastures are the 
centre round which revolves the whole social economy of the 
mountain dwellers. Were it not for these high pastures how 
could the cattle be maintained in summer, as the meadows close 
to the village supply only winter fodder? and if there were 
no cattle, the entire pastoral life of the Alpine folk would be 
deprived of its basis, and cease to be possible. 

Both senses of the term can be traced back through many 
centuries. It is not clear, indeed, which is the older or the 
original meaning of the word. It may be that the mountain 
dwellers gave the name to the highland summer pastures, and 
that the early travellers who visited the Alpine valleys learnt 
from them this new term and inaccurately applied it to the 
great peaks that tower above these pastures. Or, perhaps, 
the mountain dwellers themselves, when questioned on the 
matter, gave their visitors to understand that the great peaks, 
in the eyes of those over whose homesteads they frowned, were 
simply continuations or extensions of the summer pastures, 
perhaps indeed once the site of such pastures in former days, 
before the frightful increase in the extent of the barren region 
of ice and snow. The confusion between these two meanings 
of ' the Alps ' finds an exact parallel in that which prevails in 
the case of the more general words, ' Berg,' ' alpe,' ' montagne,' 
or 'monte.' To the Alpine folk any of these terms conveys 
the idea of a highland summer pasture, though the dweller in 
the plains thinks naturally of the lofty snoAvy summits. 

It would be an interesting line of inquiry to trace out the 
manner in which the mountain dwellers gradually adopted the 
sense of the term that had approved itself to the inhabitants of 
the plains, and which perhaps had first been suggested to the 
Alpine folk when they received a visit from their more civilised 
neighbours. But we cannot enter on such fascinating bypaths, 
and must here content ourselves with remarking that to the 
Alpine folk the high summits are naturally objects of abhorrence, 
as ever threatening the scanty fields and meadows in the valley. 
In the course of time, however, the primitive mountain inhabitants 
have learnt that the dreaded snowy peaks can become to them 


a veritable gold-mine, and are really far more valuable than 
their much-cherished pastures, for it is the peaks and not the 
pastures that attract visitors from below to the Alpine glens, and 
these visitors leave much gold behind them. 

In this work the term ' the Alps ' will be exclusively employed 
(save in Chapter 11.) to mean the great mountain-chain that 
forms the most conspicuous physical feature of the continent of 
Europe. Viewed as a whole, it forms a great wall or rampart 
that protects Italy on the N. from the rude outside world, 
and extends, in the form of a crescent, from the shores of the 
Mediterranean, on the W., to those of the Hadriatic, on the 
E. On either slope the higher ridges gradually sink down till 
they subside into the plains of Italy, on the S., or of France, 
Switzerland, and Austria, on the N. But this huge wall or 
rampart, though forming so lofty and so rugged a barrier, has 
never been an impassable barrier, whether to human beings, to 
plants, to animals, or to winds, though the cold masses of air 
driven from the N. against the wall of the Alps are warmed by 
the compression, so that while northerly winds do cross the 
Alps, the southern regions are protected by them from intense 
and sudden variations of temperature. It can, without difficulty, 
be turned at either extremity, whether by sea or by comparatively 
easy routes, such as, on the W., the ancient track along the coast, 
now known as the Corniche Road, from Genoa to Marseilles, 
or on the E. by the route through the Birnbaumer Wald (Mons 
Ocra) from Laibach to Gorz. As men became bolder, this 
great barrier was overcome by what are called 'Passes,' that 
is, not gorges, as this word once meant, but the best marked 
and lowest depressions that are to be found in the main chain 
itself. Various causes contributed to make men prefer one 
' Pass ' to another, so that a few of these depressions became 
' The Great Historical Passes of the Alps,' and will be considered 
in Chapter viii. below. Originally these passes could only be 
traversed on foot and at the cost of great hardships, though 
soon Hospices for the reception of wanderers were set up on 
or near their summits. Later on, these footpaths were improved, 
in certain cases, into horse tracks or mule paths, which, from 


the eighteenth century onwards were often replaced by magnifi- 
cently engineered carriage roads. Nowadays a third stage has 
been reached in the matter of rendering the passage of the Alps 
less and less toilsome and perilous. Instead of turning them 
or crossing them, tunnels are pierced right through their bowels, 
and so the modern traveller may, in a comfortable sleeping-car, 
avoid even the sight of the belles horreurs which caused his 
predecessors to shudder. Such tunnels, in the main chain, 
are those through which run the lines beneath the Col de Tenda, 
the Mont Cenis (strictly 17 miles to the W. of this pass), the 
Simplon, the St. Gotthard, and the Hohe Tauern, while a few ' 
lines are boldly carried across the passes themselves (so the 
Brenner and the Pontebba), thus finally superseding footpaths, 
mule tracks, or carriage roads. The most remarkable instance 
of this modern development of means of communication 
throtigh the Alps is afforded by the magnificent scheme (just 
completed) by which a grand Alpine line has been carried from 
Vienna to Trieste by means of four tunnels beneath the Pyhrn 
and Hohe Tauern Passes, and through the Karawankas and 
Julie ranges. 

Putting aside the obscure, though interesting, investigation 
of the migrations of plants and animals across the Alps, let us 
confine our attention to the men and women, who, not being 
dwellers in the chain, desired to overcome it for one or other 
of numerous reasons. From Italy Latin civilisation streamed 
over the mighty chain, in Roman, in Mediaeval, in Renaissance 
times, and so brought the outer ' barbarians ' into the pale first 
of civilisation, and then of Christianity, in both cases more or 
less largely by force of arms, the primary object being the 
political subjection of these outlying lands. The 'barbarians' 
once tamed, civilised, and converted, streamed in their turn 
over the Alps to the rich and fascinating land of Italy. 
Sometimes armies crossed in order to seize on the treasures 
of the South and occupy its fertile plains. Sometimes 
merchants brought over the products of the north, or, travel- 
ling in the reverse direction, carried from Italy the wares 
of the East to the hungry and comparatively barren northern 


regions. Or again, students flocked over the huge range to 
saturate their minds with Latin Hterature and learning:. But 
perhaps, till the modern fashion of pleasure-travelling set in, 
the largest contingent of Alpine travellers coming from the 
north was formed by the almost countless throngs of pilgrims, 
of whatever class or status, on their way to the threshold of the 
Apostles, and the centre of Latin Christianity. Nor should 
we forget the official journeys of the mediaeval Holy Roman 
Emperors-elect, on their way to be crowned at Rome. What- 
ever the object or character of these various wanderers may 
have been, the result of their journeys was similar — the Alps 
were regarded no longer as an impassable barrier, but as a 
barrier which could and might be passed, though at the price 
of many dangers and privations. The way was thus opened for 
'tourists' and 'climbers.' 

We have hitherto looked at the Alps as a whole, and as 
constituting a single great range. But if we go deeper into 
the matter we shall find that this great range is not made up 
of a single ridge, as is often shown on the quaint old maps. 
There is indeed a backbone, but there are also, as in the case 
of a fish, numerous lateral ribs or ridges that stick out at right 
angles from it and enclose between them hollows in the shape 
of valleys and glens. These valleys run up to the central 
backbone, and afford access to the passes, which lead across 
it. Thus the system of the Alps is far more complicated than 
might be imagined at first sight, and this characteristic is grasped 
at once by any one who pays them a visit. 

The backbone, or main watershed, is easily traced throughout 
nearly its entire length, save that between the Bernina Pass and 
the Reschen Scheideck Passes it is rather ill-defined, while far 
away to the E., when it reaches the Dreiherrenspitze, the S.W. 
extremity of the Gross Venediger group, we must make our 
choice between following the lofty ridge of the Tauern stretching 
eastwards, or else the main watershed that runs southwards 
towards the Hadriatic. 

Besides this great backbone, with its projecting ribs and 
deep valleys, we find that there are other masses, scarcely 


inferior in height, which rise on one or other side of the main 
chain, and are connected with it by a kind of isthmuses. Such 
are the Alps of Dauphine and of the Bernese Oberland, of the 
Range of the Todi and the chain bounding the Engadine on 
the N., of the lofty Ortler group and of the lower Limestone Alps 
of Bavaria, the Vorarlberg, and Salzburg, as well as of the en- 
chanted Dolomites of the South Tyrol. These great side masses 
are, as regards their internal structure, similar to the main chain, 
each possessing a main watershed, with side ridges that enclose 
valleys between them. 

Hence we must always bear in mind that while the Alps form 
a single continuous chain, there rise, N. and S. of the principal 
range, great mountain masses, similar in all respects, but not 
forming independent islands, for they are joined by side ridges 
to the chief range, and so form an integral portion of it. Before 
the present writer ever saw the Alps he imagined them to himself 
as forming one uninterrupted chain. But after he came to 
explore them in detail he could afford to smile at the old lady 
who, not having seen them, believed that there were but three 
great peaks in the Alps, each forming an island — Mont Blanc, 
the Matterhorn, and Monte Rosa — and so felt quite reassured 
as to the safety of her beloved son, who had climbed these three 
summits, and, clearly therefore, could incur no further great 

In these pages we look always at the Alps as they now are, 
that is, we consider their topography as it now stands, without 
inquiring either by what processes the actual forms they present 
were carved out, or the geological constitution of the rocks of 
which they are composed. Such subjects, most interesting in 
themselves, belong to the domain of Natural Science, with which 
we do not meddle in this work. 

But we cannot grasp what the Alps really are unless we try 
to realise that while the skeleton of the Alps is undoubtedly 
formed of rocks, hard or soft, these rocks, particularly in the 
case of the loftiest summits, are very largely covered by fields of 
eternal snow and ice or glaciers (of which more in Chapter in.). 
The heat of the sun, especially in summer, melts a certain 


proportion of these snows, which thus give rise to great rivers 
or minor streams. These torrents have carved out the valleys 
through which they flow downwards. All the great Alpine 
rivers (save apparently the Drave and the Piave, and in a sense 
the Inn, the Adda and the Adige) have their origin in these 
eternal snows — the Durance, the Isere, the Rhone, the Aar, 
the Reuss, the Rhine, and the Linth, are all on the non-Italian 
slope of the Alps ; while on the Italian slope we have the Po, 
the Tosa, the Ticino, and the Oglio. Sometimes these great 
rivers (like minor streams) form small lakes on their way, where 
their bed widens out into a hollow. Several, after their rapid 
descent from the snow region, form much larger lakes at the 
points where they reach the level country ; such is the origin 
of the Lakes of Geneva, of Thun, of Brienz, of Lucerne, of 
Constance, as well as the Lago Maggiore, and the sheets 
of water known as the Lakes of Lugano, of Como, of Iseo, 
and of Garda. 

Of these huge masses of water those rising on the Italian 
slope of the Alps lose themselves for the most part in the 
Mediterranean, either through the Gulf of Genoa, or through 
the Hadriatic Sea. But the rivers at the eastern extremity of 
the Alps are diverted by a series of low hills towards the 
Danube (a non-Alpine river), which also receives the Inn, 
though this rises on the non-Italian slope of the Alps. With 
the exception of the Rhone (flowing to the Mediterranean) and 
of the Danube (which falls into the Black Sea) the other rivers 
rising on the non-Italian slope of the Alps find their way 
ultimately to the North Sea. Those who like oddities may 
care to know that there are at least two summits in the Alps 
which send their waters to each of these three seas. So the 
waters flowing from the Wyttenwasserstock (the lower peak, 
9922 ft.) in the Lepontine Alps, help to swell the Mediterranean, 
the HadriatiC;, and the North Sea, while Pizzo Lunghino 
(91 2 1 ft.), N.W. of the Maloja Pass, sends streams to the 
Hadriatic, the North Sea, and the Black Sea. 

Having thus obtained a general idea of what ' the Alps ' 
really are in the most usually accepted sense of that term, let 


us now briefly fix the limits by which they are marked off 
from the Apennines on one side, and the hills that stretch 
towards the borders of Hungary on the other, reserving a 
detailed examination of the internal structure of the great 
chain for Chapter xiii. To settle this question we must make 
up our mind as to the precise meaning we attach to the 
name ' Alps.' Are we to use it to signify the whole of the 
great range, that, stretching roughly from Genoa to Trieste, 
joins the Apennines to the outliers of the Carpathians? In 
this case our limits will be, on the W., the Col di Cadibona or 
d'Altare (1624 ft.), between Turin and Savona, near Genoa, 
and on the E., the Semmering Pass (3215 ft.), that leads from 
Vienna past Marburg and Laibach to Trieste. But much of 
the region thus included is snowless and below any possible 
snow-line, however varying. 

Now, as Mr. John Ball, that great authority on the Alps, 
pointed out long ago, in common parlance that portion of 
the great mountain chain is 'Alpine' in character, where the 
height of the mountains is sufficient to maintain considerable 
masses of perpetual snow. In short, ' the Alps ' are the snowy 
and loftier part of the range, though of course all their summits 
do not bear snow, some of the highest being rocky even at the 
top, while others are snowy, though of comparatively moderate 
height, rising on side ridges. In these pages the term ' Alps ' 
is employed always in the sense of the High or snowy Alps. 
If we accept this definition, our limits will be on the W. 
extremity the Col de Tenda (6145 ft.), leading from Cuneo 
to Ventimiglia, or by a more devious route, across two lower 
passes to Nice, while on the E. it will be the long-frequented 
route over the Radstadter Tauern (5702 ft.), leading from the 
Enns valley to the Mur valley, and then over the Katschberg 
(5384 ft.) to the Drave valley. The principal pass is gained 
on the N. either by the Pyhrn Pass (3100 ft.), leading from 
Vienna past Linz to Liezen in the Enns valley, or through 
the Lueg gorge direct from Salzburg. But the natural con- 
tinuation of the Radstadter Tauern to the S., over the Predil 
or Pontebba Passes, would exclude from the Alps all their 


South-Eastern group. So from Villach in the Drave valley 
we must take a great sweep to the E. and S.E. past Klagenfurt 
and down the Drave valley to Marburg, and thence back along 
the last bit of the Semmering Railway past Cilli and Laibach 
to Trieste. 

Let us now sum up the answer to the question we pro- 
pounded at the head of this chapter. 'The Alps' are the 
higher or snowy portion of the great mountain range that 
shelters Italy from the outer world, and is crossed by a number 
of passes. This range is limited by the Col de Tenda (W.) and 
the Radstiidter Tauern (E.), while it is composed of a main water- 
shed and other half-isolated groups, all, like the main ridge, send- 
ing out side ridges, that enclose valleys, down which rush the 
torrents (produced by the melting of the snows) many of which 
spread themselves out into great lakes as they reach the plains, 
and before they fall into one or the other sea. 



IN any of the higher Alpine valleys we notice at once, above 
the belt of forest that shelters the scattered homesteads in 
and round the village, a succession of grassy slopes which mount 
towards the region of eternal snow. These slopes are named 
' Alps ' by the mountain dwellers, and are used as summer 
pastures by them for their cattle, which otherwise could not 
subsist on the fodder obtained on the lower meadows, this 
being quite insufficient for their needs during the long winter. 
Nowadays the lowest bit of these pastures has often passed 
into private ownership (each bit is called a 'Vorsass,' or 
'Voralp,' or 'Mayen'), and is used for grazing the cattle of 
the owner in spring and autumn, while the hay mown there 
in summer is reserved for their winter needs. But the rest 
of these Alpine pastures is exclusively devoted to the pasturing 
of cattle in summer, the higher portions being specially given 
over to goats and sheep, while the cows, as the most important 
item, occupy the middle and most productive stretches. These 
bear different names in different portions of the chain of the 
Alps, in which they are found everywhere — in the German- 
speaking regions the term used is 'Alp' or 'Berg,' the form 
' Aim ' being characteristic of the Tyrol ; in the French-speaking 
districts, 'alpe' and 'montagne' are the ordinary names, while 
' alpe ' or ' monte ' are the names found in the Italian-speaking 
regions. Probably these summer pastures date back to the 
first settlements in the Alpine valleys. The earhest instances 
known to the present writer are the 'Alpes in Cenisio' (the 
pastures on the plain of the Mont Cenis Pass) mentioned in 



739 ; the Sambtiser Alp on the Santis, in Appenzell, heard 
of in 868 j and the Macugnaga Alp, at the head of the Val 
Anzasca, which in 999 was the subject of an exchange between 
the Archbishop of Milan and the monks of Arona. Sometimes, 
as in the Dauphine and the Engadine, the sheep pastures are 
let out to shepherds from Provence or the Bergamasque valleys 
respectively. In other cases the pastures in a mountain valley 
have been alienated to far-distant villages (this is not unfrequent 
in some parts of the Tyrol, while in Switzerland the Oberaar 
Alp, near the Grimsel, belongs to the village of Torbel, above 
Stalden, on the Zermatt railway). A few are in the hands 
of great monasteries {e.g. Engelberg and Einsiedeln) or of the 
State, while others belong to private individuals or societies. 
But, speaking generally, we may say that, as a rule, the high- 
land summer pastures in an Alpine valley belong to the in- 
habitants of that valley. 

In certain cases the men of one valley have encroached on 
the pastures of their neighbours, and have appropriated them, 
though not included within the limits of their own proper 
district. This dislocation, no doubt, goes far back in point of 
date, and was in each case the result of a struggle between 
rival herdsmen. We can trace a struggle of this kind best 
in the valley of Engelberg, where the Blacken Alp, at the very 
head of the glen, has never belonged to the monastery, but to 
Attinghausen in Uri (opposite Altdorf) ; while the pastures of 
the Nieder Surenen Alp below it were also secured by the 
men of the same village after a long drawn-out contest with 
the monks that lasted from 1273 to 15 13. The Uri men, 
restless perhaps within the narrow limits to which Nature has 
confined them, still own other pastures that topographically 
lie in other regions — so the men of Spiringen, above Altdorf, 
enjoy the splendid pastures (said to be the finest in Switzer- 
land) of the Urnerboden, on the Glarus side of the Klausen 
Pass, above Altdorf, though the men of Tessin have succeeded 
in keeping hold of the pastures on the N. slope of the St. Gott- 
hard, those between the pass and Hospenthal. Other cases of 
a similar kind are the pastures on the Meiringen side of the Great 


Scheidegg, which (nearly down to Rosenlaui) belong to Grindel- 
wald, and those on the N. side of the Gemmi (including the 
Schwarenbach inn) are held by Leukerbad, in the Vallais, 
while the case of the Oberaar Alp has been mentioned above. 
So again the Fenga or Fimber Alp, on the proper Tyrolese 
side of the chain, is reckoned as Swiss, and has for ages 
belonged to Remiis and Sent, both in the Lower Engadine ; 
while the Gross Fermunt pastures at the head of the Vorarl- 
berg glen of Montafon belong to Ardez, also in the Lower 

It is reckoned that in Switzerland (where special attention 
is paid to the subject) there are about 4478 'Alps ' at present, 
of an estimated capital value of rather over ;^3, 000,000, and 
capable of supporting some 270,389 cattle in summer. There 
may, of course, be more than one ' Alp ' in any given valley ; e.g. 
in that of Grindelwald there are seven. 

These summer pastures are only grazed for about three months 
annually, the cattle going up thither towards the middle or end 
of June, and coming down about the end of September. But 
during this time the beasts do not always remain on the same 
portion of the pasture. On every ' Alp ' there are generally two 
or three (or even four) sets of huts, situated respectively on the 
two, or three, or four horizontal strips of pasture (each called a 
' Staffel ') into which that ' Alp ' is divided by a wooden hedge. 
The cattle start in June on the lowest strip, work gradually 
upwards to the highest (where they spend three weeks or so in 
July and August), halt for some time on the way down at the 
middle set of huts, and finish the summer at the lowest set of all. 
The milk given by each cow is (unless it is specially fetched 
by the owner of that cow) measured daily, and at the end of the 
season the owner of each cow has the right to receive an amount 
of cheese corresponding to the milk given by that cow, after 
deducting the allowance of cheese, milk, etc., which the cheese- 
maker (the ' Senn ' or ' fruitier ') and his men are entitled to 
receive, as part of their wages. The cheeses are made daily, and 
are kept in small huts (called ' Speicher '), with short stone legs, 
which are easily to be distinguished on each ' Alp ' from those 


wherein the herdsmen sleep (each of these is a ' chalet ' properly 
so called), or from the stables used in case of bad weather or on 
exceptional occasions. 

There is an obvious danger, at any rate in the case of pastures 
not owned by private individuals, that more cows will be sent up 
annually than the particular pasture in question can support 
without permanent damage. Hence an official estimate is made, 
from time to time, sometimes at very long intervals, of the proper 
number of cows that should be sent up. The amount of pasture 
required to support a single cow for the summer is technically 
termed a ' Kuhstoss,' or ' cow's portion/ which is reckoned 
to suffice for two heifers, three calves or sheep, four pigs, 
or eight goats (the numbers vary on different ' Alps '), in case 
any one entitled to send up a cow prefers to graze in a particular 
summer any of the animals just named. 

Speaking quite generally (for customs and regulations differ 
widely even in the same region), it may be said that the persons 
entitled to rights of pasture must be burghers of the village to 
which the particular pasture belongs. Sometimes they may let 
out their right (' Kuhrecht') for the summer, or may exchange it 
for rights on some other ' Alp,' so that the ' Besetzerschaft ' 
(occupiers) of an ' Alp ' in any given summer are not necessarily 
identical with the ' Besitzerschaft ' (the owners of the rights of 
pasture). These rights of pasture belong, as stated above, to 
the burghers of that particular village or 'commune,' but not 
necessarily to all burghers, for in some cases they are attached 
to the possession of a particular bit of land'(entered in an official 
Register), with which the right passes when the land is sold, 
though in other cases the rights belong to each male burgher 
of full age, as an individual, and not as a land-owner. In 
this way no burgher can keep more cattle in winter than he 
has a right to pasture on the 'Alp' of his village in summer, 
unless (what such men are generally shy of doing, partly 
through limited means) he buys hay for the extra cattle, 
or owns meadow-land enough to support them, without need- 
ing to utilise the summer pastures, or leases ' cow-rights ' from 


Thus it will be seen that as cattle form the main riches of 
every Alpine valley and village, the summer pastures are to that 
valley or village and its inhabitants the pivot on which the whole 
life of the people turns. No pastures, no cattle ; few pastures, 
few cattle. 


2^ f- 

•■■< 3 

3 < 




GIBBON tells us in his Autobiography that about 1783 'the 
fashion of viewing the mountains and Glaciers ' had 
attracted to his loved retreat at Lausanne many foreign visitors 
on their way to wonder at these marvels. He was thinking, no 
doubt, more especially of the glaciers of the valley of Chamonix. 
But in any case his remark proves that the snowy region of the 
Alps no longer inspired dread and awe, but rather a fearful 
curiosity to see with one's own eyes the most extensive tract of 
eternal snow to be found in Europe, that which covered the 
loftiest summits of the Alps. This new fashion, among other 
results, helped to familiarise the dwellers in the plains with the 
wonders of the ice-world, and so to give them a juster idea of what 
this frozen world really was. Now this was a result much to be 
desired, for the older writers held some very quaint notions on 
the subject. Pliny, Seneca, St. Augustine of Hippo, and 
Claudian all believed that a crystal was simply very hard frozen 
ice. This strange view, combated already by Solinus, was still 
held by certain persons in the sixteenth century, says Josias 
Simler (i 530-1576), who is doubtful on the point, though his 
contemporaries, Sebastian Miinster (1489-1552) and Johannes 
Stumpf (i 500-1 566), were quite sure that crystals were really 
stones ; these (they held), though often found in the Alps, had 
nothing to do with ice, which, however, they resembled closely 
as to brilliance and purity. Another delusion on the part of 
the older writers was that the snowy region of the Alps con- 
stituted the one vast sea of ice, hardly, if ever, interrupted at any 
point whatsoever. Hence, when it was absolutely necessary to 



force a way across this frozen ocean, the point at which this was 
done was called simply 'the Glacier.' This name was especi- 
ally applied to the St. Theodule Pass (leading from Zermatt to 
the valley of Aosta), whether under the name ' Der Gletscher ' 
by Giles Tschudi (1505-15 7 2), who himself actually crossed 
it about 1528, as well as by Miinster and Stumpf, or under that 
of ' Rosa ' by Simler ; the last-named writer here translates the 
German term by a word borrowed from the patois of the valley 
of Aosta, meaning a ' glacier ' and variously written ' roisa,' 
'roesa,' 'ruise,' or 'reuse,' and undoubtedly the original of the 
name Monte Rosa, which is the culminating point of that great 
Sea of Ice. Now at first sight, if we look upwards from a valley, 
we are strongly inclined to believe in this Sea of Ice, not merely 
because of its superficial resemblance to the sea of water, but 
because from this frozen ocean, hidden in mysterious retreats, 
and lifted high above the workaday world, there flow down into 
the valley great streams of ice, which resemble rivers, though 
flowing from and not into the icy waste. It is only when we 
come to explore ourselves the snowy region that we grasp the 
fact that the Sea of Ice is by no means unbroken, but forms a 
series of minor seas, separated, now at any rate, from each 
other by extensive snowless tracts of ground. Yet, from the 
historical, or rather prehistoric, point of view, this theory of a 
Sea of Ice has an element of truth in it, for do not scientific 
men now impress upon us the fact that once, in the Ice Age, the 
whole of Europe was really an unbroken Sea of Ice, though, 
owing to the retreat of the ice, this sea is now confined to the 
highest portions of the Alpine chain? 

Alpine glaciers form such a striking feature of the scenery of 
a high mountain valley that they could not possibly be over- 
looked, for they formed such immovable boundaries. It is 
possible that the ' rupes alba' of the charter of 1091 founding 
the Benedictine Priory of Chamonix refers to some real ' white 
rock,' and not (as the present writer firmly believes) to the 
glittering snows of Mont Blanc. But a Uttle later, even if we 
put on one side two documents, said to be forged, and dated 
1146 and 1 173, we have certain mention of the glaciers of Grind- 


ehvald in 1220, in 1246, in 1247, and in 1252, in each case as 
one of the hmits of a piece of land. In 1353 we hear of the 
'mountains called Glaciers, in German Gletscher,' which extend 
at the head of the Simmenthal, In the sixteenth century the 
three Swiss topographical writers already named, Miinster (1544), 
Stumpf (1548), and Simler (1574), as well as Ulrich Campell 
(about 1573), give long accounts of glaciers, but apparently 
always at second hand. Campell naturally dwells on those in 
the Lower Engadine (he was a native of Siis), but the others all 
base their descriptions on the two Grindelwald glaciers. These, 
in fact, were so well seen (alas, they have greatly shrunk since 
those days !) from a very accessible valley, that they are generally 
taken as the type of glaciers, as we see from the writings of 
Thomas Schopf (1577), H. R. Rebmann (1606), Matthew Merian 
(1642), J. J. Wagner (1680), J. H. Hottinger (1706), J. J. 
Scheuchzer (1723), and A. von Haller (1732), for it is not till 
the time of J. G. Altmann (1751) and of G. S. Gruner (1760) 
that we find detailed descriptions of glaciers elsewhere in the 
Alps. Merian first, as far as the present writer is aware, gives 
(1642) an engraving of these glaciers (probably the first ever to 
be so figured), and his plate long served as the typical representa- 
tion of these marvellous natural phenomena. It was most likely 
the source of the quaint illustration that accompanies the second 
earliest (1673-4) account of glaciers (always those of Grindel- 
wald) which was published in English. As those early English 
accounts are very little known, save to a few students, we 
venture to transcribe them for the benefit of our readers; all 
three appeared in the Fhilosophical Transactions of the Royal 

I. Phil. Trans., No. 49, pp. 982-3, June 21, 1669. 

Extract of a Letter, Written by Mr. Muraltus [Johannes von M., 
1645-1733] ^/Zurich to M. Haak [Theodore Haak, 1605-1690, 
an original member of the Royal Society, 1663], a Fellow of 
the R. Society, concerning the Icy a?td Chrysiallin Mountains 
(?/■ Helvetia, calPd the Gletscher. English' d out of Latin by the 
Publisher, as follows : — 
The highest Icy Mountains oi Helvetia dihovX Valesia ax^^ Augusta 


[the Vallais and Aosta, here wrongly placed] in the canton of Bern ; 
about Taminium [Tamins in the Grisons] and Tavetsch [Sedrun], 
of the Rhaetians, are alwayes seen cover'd with Snow. The Snow, 
melted by the heat of the Summer, other Snow being fain within 
a little while after, is hardned into Ice, which by little and little in 
a long tract of time depurating it-self turns into a Stone, not yeilding 
in hardness & clearness to Chrystall. Such Stones closely Joyned 
and compacted together compose a whole Mountain, and that a very 
firm one ; though in Summer-time the Country-people have observed 
it to burst asunder with great cracking, Thunder-like ; which is also 
known to Hunters to their great cost, forasmuch as such cracks 
and openings, being by the Winds covered with Snow, are the 
death of those, that pass over them. 

At the foot of these mountains are with great labour digg'd out 
Chrystals, which are found among other fossils, of two sorts and 
colors ; some of them are darkish and troubled, which by some 
are call'd the Chrystal-ore, to be plenteously found in the ascent of 
Mount Gotthard; others, transparent, very pure and clear as Venice- 
glass ; sexangular, great and small : as in the mountains about 
Valesia, and the town call'd Ursden [Andermatt in the Ursern valley, 
and near the foot of the ascent to the St. Gotthard Pass] at the foot 
of the Hill Schelenin [SchoUenen gorge] they are digg'd out and 
sold at a good rate. Of this latter kind, my Parents, four years 
agoe, transmitted a very bigg and fair one to Milan for 80 pound 

This is, what I have observed about these Hills ; What I shall 
farther learn of the people, inhabiting thereabout, to whom I have 
written a month since, I shall impart to you. 

In September 1668. 

2. Phil. Trans., No. 100, pp. 6191-2, February 9, 1673-4, 

A farther Description attd Representation of the ley Mountain, 
called the Gletscher, i7i the canton ^t/" Berne in Helvetia ; which 
was formerly takett ftotice of in Numb. 49 of these Tracts. 
This account was imparted to us from Paris by that worthy and 
obliging person. Monsieur y/iJj/^'/ [Henri Justel, 1620-1693, Superin- 
tendent of the Royal Library, St. James' Palace, London], who had 
received it from a trusty hand living upon the place, as follows ; The 
Icy Mountain, of which I have sent you the Scheme {See Tab. 2) de- 
serves to be view'd. The letter A signifies the Mountain it self [the 
Lower Grindelwald glacier], which is very high, and extends it self 


every year more and more over the neighbouring meadows, by incre- 
ments that make a great noise and cracking. There are great holes 
and caverns, which are made when the Ice bursts ; which happens at 
all times, but especially in the Dog-days. Hunters do there hang up 
their game they take during the great heat, to make it keep sweet 
by that means. Very little of the surface melts in Summer, and 
all freezeth again in the night. When the Sun shineth, there is seen 
such a variety of colors as in a Prism. 

B. is a rivolet [the Liitschine], issuing forth from under the Ice, 
which is pretty deep and extremely cold. 

C. are the Hutts, that were built at the beginning, at a consider- 
able distance from the Mountain ; but at present they are nigh to 
it by reason of the continued increase which this Ice maketh. 

There is such an other Mountain near Gefteva [the chain of Mont 
Blanc] and upon the Alpes [that is, the main ridge of the Alps]. A 
certain Capucin told me, he had been upon the highest of these 
mountains with a Trader in Crystal, who having driven his hammer 
into one of these Rocks, and found it hollow and resonant, made a 
hole into it, and thence drew out a substance like Talk ; which to 
him was a sign there was Crystal. After which he made a great 
hole with Gunpowder, and found Rock-crystal in it. 

3. Fhil. Trans., No. 320, pp. 316-17, March and April, 1709. 

Part of a Letter from William Burnet, Esq. ; F.R.S. [son of the cele- 
brated bishop, Gilbert Burnet], to Dr. Hans Sloane, R.S. Seer., 
concerning the Icy Mountains of Switzerland. 

Geneva, October 12, 170S. 
Sir, — After I had been at Zurich I resolved to go my self and 
see the Mountains of Ice in Switzerland. Accordingly I went to 
the Gritidlcwald, a Mountain two Days journey from Bern. There 
I saw, between two Mountains, like a River of Ice, which divides it 
self in two Branches, and in its way from the Top of the Mountains 
to the bottom swells in vast Heaps, some bigger than St. Paul's 
church. The Original of which seems to have been this. These 
Mountains are covered all the Year with Snow on their Tops ; this 
Snow has been melted in the Summer, and has fallen to the Bottom 
where the sun never reaches : There it has Frozen, which every 
Body knows happens more easily to melted Snow than ordinary 
Water. Thus every Year it has increased, till it has touched the 
very Top. The reason why the Water has always frozen, tho' the 
Sun in the middle of the Mountain, and higher, shines upon it some 


part of the Day, is that the melted Water goes under the Ice 
already formed and there Freezes, and so expanding it self raises 
the Ice above it, and sometimes makes Cracks in it, that frighten 
the whole Neighbourhood : The reason appears plainly, because 
the upper Surface being solid, cannot be dilated without making 
great Chinks, and that with a terrible noise. They told me, upon 
the Place, that every seven Years the Mountain increases, and the 
next seven decreases ; but I doubt their Observation is not exact, 
and I suspect that they say it, to seem to know something singular. 
Besides there are none there that have themselves observed it long 
enough, to affirm any thing of that kind certainly. If there is any 
ground in that Observation, it seems to be, that in the hottest 
Summers it increases, and the more moderate ones it decreases, 
there being then less melted Snow ; in which case it is at present, 
as we know of late the Summers have been moderate (see Philosoph, 
Transact., Numb. 49 and 100). 

Half a century or so after these last words were written the 
exploration of glaciers and the snowy region of the Alps 
in general was taken in hand, as we shall see in Chapter ix. 
below. Still later their true nature and principal characteristics 
were ascertained by a long-continued series of personal investi- 
gations, carried out by a number of well-trained men, who 
personally studied the puzzling phenomena on the ice-fields 

Let us therefore sum up briefly the chief well-established 
results which have been the consequence of these careful 

The snowy region of the Alps naturally means that portion 
of the Alpine chain which is covered with ' perpetual snow.' 
But the line of distinction between the snowless and the snowy 
regions is not a hard-and-fast line. Ideally the ' snow-line ' is 
the point at which the amount of snow that melts annually 
exactly equals the amount that has fallen. But in any district 
of the Alps, even in any single Alpine valley, this ideal limit 
varies according to the exposure of a slope to the rays of 
the sun, to the various winds, to the geological nature of the 
mountain, etc., and is not determined once for all by the mere 
elevation above the sea-level. Such local variations can be 


well seen when the weather has cleared after a snow-fall in 
some Alpine valley in summer or early autumn. When the 
clouds lift, the line right round the valley is as even as if 
carved with a sharp knife. But as soon as the clouds vanish, 
the snow melts more rapidly in one spot than in another, and 
the line, before so even, becomes extraordinarily uneven and 
irregular, as if cut away by a huge jagged knife. 

Abandoning therefore any attempt to fix with scientific pre- 
cision the snow-line in any given case, it is, of course, certain 
that high up (to use a rather vague phrase) there is always snow 
lying on the mountains, though the amount varies even here 
from day to day. Lower down this precipitation takes the 
form of rain, but high up it becomes snow owing to the fall 
in the temperature of the air as one ascends the mountain 
slopes. But snow does not constitute a glacier. Glacier ice 
has indeed once been snow, but it has passed through the 
intermediate stage of ' neve ' or ' Firn ' before becoming ice. 
Hence we must distinguish carefully between snow, neve, and ice, 
though all three are different forms of water. 

The s?iozv that falls high up on the mountain slopes is dry, 
loose, fine, and granular. Some of it melts, while some is 
carried away by strong winds and then forms the ' tourmentes ' 
or 'Guxen,' those storms which are the dread of the mountain 
dweller or mountain climber, just as are the sand-storms in 
the desert to the inhabitants of such regions. But a certain 
proportion of the snow that falls in winter remains on the 
mountains, whether in hollows, or on slopes whence it is brought 
down to those hollows by what are called ' avalanches.' Such 
is the first stage. 

Gradually the heat of the sun's rays by day and the fall in 
the temperature of the air at night weld these loose grains or 
particles more or less firmly together, the upper surface indeed 
melting to some extent, but the main mass becoming hard and 
compact. The body thus formed acquires weight and moves 
slowly more or less down the mountain-side, becoming ever 
more compact and homogeneous. Thus the 'snow' of the 
highest regions is converted into ^ ficvP or 'Firn.' As this 


mass is not fluid, like water, it is rent asunder when it moves 
over the steep rock slope that forms its bed, and thus not 
merely are crevasses or holes formed in it, but also the 
peculiar phenomenon known as ' seracs.' These are huge 
rectangular blocks or squares, rising independent of each other 
amid yawning chasms where the descent is steep, and having 
a singular creamy tint, to which they owe their name of 'seracs,' 
that being the local term used at Chamonix for the shape 
assumed by the ' second cheese' or whey, when compressed in 
rectangular boxes. 

Now the ' neve ' is not yet a ' gladerj' but it is the raw material 
of a glacier, or the feeder of a glacier, though here and there 
(as in the case of the Blaugletscherli, near Grindelwald) true ice 
is never formed, so that the so-called glacier is really but a neve. 
While the neve continues its downward course, it is squeezed 
and confined more and more as it works its way through a narrow 
gorge towards the valley or highland plain. This enormous 
pressure converts the hard snow of the neve into real pure ice, 
and so into a ' glacier.' In a glacier as in a neve the rents caused 
by moving down a steep slope are called ' crevasses ' or 
' Schriinde,' while a particular kind of rent, namely where a 
steep upper slope of either meets a more level field of one or 
the other, is distinguished by the special name of ' Bergschrund ' 
or 'rimaye.' 

Now the surface of a glacier is not smooth and level, like a 
skating-rink. It rises, even where roughly level, in many humps 
or hummocks, caused in general by the varying action of the 
sun's rays on the surface according as it is protected by sand or 
stones, or not protected. Sometimes these humps are cones of 
some feet in height, and are capped by a great boulder, which 
has intercepted the action of the sun's rays ; these ice pillars, 
crowned by a great rock, are known as Glacier Tables^ and are 
among the most striking of glacial phenomena. Elsewhere 
stones lie on the surface of the ice ; the little streams that run 
over the surface in the daytime cannot pursue a straight course 
perpendicular to the glacier, but are forced to hollow out 
crooked channels for themselves. Now when a stream of this 


4^'^^%^^ ''*■ 





kind meets with a hole in the ice, still more when the hole 
is large enough to be dignified by the name of a crevasse, the 
water naturally seeks an issue towards the rock-bed beneath 
the glacier. The falling water Httle by little wears away the 
ice and enlarges this hole, so that a vertical shaft is formed 
down which the stream rushes in a waterfall. The waterfalls 
so formed are called ' moulins ' or ' Glacier Mills.' Should 
the glacier we are studying descend over a steep underlying 
bed of rock, the ice (as in the case of the ' neve ') is rent 
asunder and forms 'crevasses,' while it is also broken in the 
steepest parts into 'ice-falls.' Thus an 'ice-fall' is always 
composed of towers or pinnacles of ice, which display the 
wonderful azure tint characteristic of pure ice, which is very 
easily distinguished from the dull creamy hue of the square 
masses formed by a neve during a similar steep descent. 

Now it is beyond question that glaciers (like the neves above, 
which are their feeders) move downwards towards the valleys. 
The/(2^/ of this movement was finally established as late as the 
forties of the nineteenth century by a few persevering investigators, 
among whom perhaps the chief was the Scotchman, J. D. Forbes 
(1809- 1 868), who made a series of exact measurements on the 
Mer de Glace at Chamonix during the summer of 1842. The 
precise physical cause of this downward movement is still some- 
what of a puzzle, and many theories have been propounded to ex- 
plain it. Here we need only assume the generally admitted fact 
of downward movement. Now ice, though plastic and therefore 
yielding to pressure, cannot be stretched, but breaks with tension. 
This is the real cause of crevasses. As in the case of a river, 
the centre of a glacier moves more quickly than the sides, which 
are retarded by the friction against the rock-walls that confine 
them, while it is also true that the surface layer of ice moves 
more quickly than those which underlie it, this too being owing 
to friction against the rock-bed of the glacier. These strains 
in different directions give rise to various kinds of crevasses, 
some transverse (this is the most usual case), some marginal, 
some longitudinal. Of course, as the inclination of the 
rock-bed diminishes, the crevasses and ice-falls close up, and 


the ice becomes once again more or less level and homo- 

Another consequence of the fact that glaciers do really move 
is that the weighty mass of ice leaves traces of its action on the 
rock-bed. It grinds out the natural bosses and humps on the 
rock, and so gives rise to what (when they can be seen after a 
glacier has retreated) are called ' roches moutonnees,' for they 
are rounded like the back of sheep. If, however, as often 
happens, fragments of some of the harder kinds of rock fall 
through the crevasses to the rock-bed of the glacier, the huge 
mass of ice above them carries them on in its course and forces 
them to scratch deep grooves or furrows, known as ' striations,' 
in that rock-bed. 

Once and once only in the course of my active Alpine career 
of thirty-four years did I ever see this double process at work, or 
rather, as the glacier moves very slowly, reaUse how it was carried 
out. We were descending the lower ice-fall on the Wengern 
Alp side of the Jungfraujoch. One tremendous crevasse could 
neither be turned nor crossed. We were absolutely stopped. 
But our brave and valiant leader, the famous guide. Christian 
Aimer, of Grindelwald, did not hesitate. He caused a staircase 
to be cut down the side of the great crevasse so that we could 
reach the rock-bed beneath the glacier. Then he led us a short 
distance over this rock-bed till he could cut another staircase up 
the side of a crevasse lower than our foe, and so we regained the 
surface of the ice after half an hour spent in the bowels of the 
glacier. That took place in July 1872, and I have never for- 
gotten how we actually saw in situ the rock-bed being smoothed 
out and at the same time grooved by the fragments of harder 
rock that were forced along it. Few mountaineers can have 
been privileged to enjoy such a strange sight, which was worth 
more than tons of theory and book-reading. 

At a certain point in the downward progress of a glacier the 
ice of which it is composed melts more rapidly than the increase 
in bulk due to the fresh amount borne down annually to the snout 
of the glacier. The glacier thus dissolves into water, which joins 
the underground streams flowing out from beneath it. Together 


they form roaring torrents that sometimes fertilise mountain 
valleys, sometimes cause great ravages therein. The water is of a 
milky hue owing to the particles of rock and fine dust that are borne 
down with it from the rock-bed beneath the glacier. These moun- 
tain torrents join others, and form both waterfalls and lakes 
before the greater river, the result of their junction (and most 
Alpine rivers rise in glaciers), loses itself in one or other sea. 

We have spoken several times of rocks and stones on the glacier. 
These, of course, have fallen from above. When great masses 
of rock and stones fall on the edge of a glacier they are called 
'lateral moraines' ('Gandegg' is the Bernese name for moraines 
in general), while the accumulations of rubbish at the foot of a 
glacier form the 'terminal moraine.' When two glacier arms 
unite, the lateral moraine of each become the ' medial moraine ' 
(or 'Gufer,' especially if composed of debris and not boulders) 
of the larger stream formed by their union. Ancient moraines 
found in spots now far away from any glaciers, help, with ' roches 
moutonnees ' and ' striations,' to prove the existence of former 
glaciers in that district. Another proof is the existence of huge 
boulders, composed of rocks not found in that region, and so 
presumed to have once been brought down on a now vanished 
glacier, these rock islands being known as ' erratic boulders.' It is 
said that B. F. Kuhn was the first, in an essay published in 1787, 
to have conjectured the former great extension of glaciers in the 
Alps, ancient moraines having put him on the right track. In 
1802 and in 18 16 John Playfair was independently led to the 
same conclusion by the study of ' erratic boulders,' while in 1821 
I. Venetz (his essay appeared in print in 1833 only) brought 
together documentary proofs of the advance and retreat of Swiss 
glaciers in historical times. It is possible that Venetz either first 
learnt of this fruitful theory from, or was confirmed in it by, the 
acute observations made by a simple peasant, carpenter and 
hunter, of Lourtier, in the Val de Bagnes in the Vallais, J. P. 
Perraudin (i 767-1858). He is known to have told Charpentier 
in 1815 that the existence of what were later called 'erratic 
boulders ' had forced on him the belief that a huge glacier once 
extended down the Dranse valley as far as Martigny, while a 


MS. note of his (dated in 1818) has been preserved in which he 
declares that, owing to striations (he calls them ' wounds made in 
the living rock ') on certain rocks (now far from existing glaciers) 
in his native valley, he felt certain that the Val de Bagnes had 
once been occupied by a great glacier. All honour to this 
humble observer ' avant la lettre,' whose name is briefly mentioned 
by Venetz (1821) and by Charpentier (1841) — both personal 
acquaintances of his — but whose real merits have only lately 
(1899) been appreciated at their proper value by Professor F. A. 
Forel, the great Swiss authority on glaciers. A rival of Per- 
raudin's was the Chamonix guide, Marie Deville, who is 
said to have come to a similar conclusion in 181 5, through 
the evidence of 'erratic boulders' and 'striations' on the 
rocks, both found in spots now far distant from any existing 

Who can tell how soon glaciers that at present survive will be 
known only by the rubbish heaps and striations that they have 
left behind them? Practically all the Alpine glaciers are in 
retreat, though occasionally some one or the other advances for 
a short period. There are still, in 1908, glaciers proper in every 
district of the chain of the Alps, even in the Maritime Alps, at one 
extremity, and in the Dolomites and the Julie Alps at the other, 
though on the more northerly summits (such as Glarnisch — the 
Santis has only a ' neve ') and on the Zugspitze they are not of 
any very great extent. The most extensive tracts of glacier ice 
are to be found in the Dauphine Alps, the Graians, the Mont 
Blanc chain and the Pennines, the Bernese Oberland, the Ber- 
nina Alps, the Adamello group, the Ortler and Oetzthal ranges, 
and the Tauern chain more to the E. The number of glaciers 
is not known precisely, nor even the approximate area they cover, 
though rough estimates have been made of the glaciers in some 
specified groups. The three longest glaciers in the Alps are all 
in the Bernese Oberland, though this range does not form part 
of the main chain of the Alps — the Great Aletsch glacier is i6h 
miles in length, the Unteraar and the Fiescher each 10 miles, 
and the Gauli glacier is 8| miles. The Corner glacier and the 
Mer de Glace at Chamonix can only boast of 9J miles, the next 


longest glacier in the Mont Blanc chain being that of Argentiere 
(6| miles), while the Lower Grindelwald glacier is 6^ miles long. 
In the Eastern Alps the Pasterze glacier (Gross Glockner) heads 
the list with rather over 6^ miles, followed closely by two of the 
Oetzthal glaciers, the Gepatsch (6-| miles), and the Hintereis 
(6 miles). 

Various terms are employed to designate glaciers. The English 
word is the French term (pronounced differently), while the 
Italian is ' ghiacciaio ' (more rarely ' ruise ') and the Swiss 
• Gletscher.' In the Eastern Alps ' Ferner,' ' vedretta,' and 
' Kees ' (the last named is special to Carinthia) are the names 
employed. Rarely found names are ' Biegno ' (Vallais) and 
' vadret ' (Engadine). 

Alpine history is rich in stories of adventures on glaciers, 
especially as to the unlucky individuals who have had the 
misfortune to fall into crevasses. It is well known that after 
a certain lapse of years objects dropped high up reappear at a 
much lower level, so that various relics of the Hamel (1820) and 
Arkwright accidents (1866) — both of which happened on the 
' Ancien Passage ' not far from the summit of Mont Blanc — 
came to light in 1861-3 and in 1897 respectively on the Bossons 
glacier, far below the scene of the catastrophe. On September 
I, 1886, the writer's Bernese guide and himself made the 
discovery of the remains of some hunter or shepherd. We were 
descending the great glaciers at the head of the Val de Rhemes 
(one of the southern tributaries of the Aosta valley) when, at 
the top of the great moraine at the foot of that glacier, our 
attention was attracted by an odd series of regular curves on 
the surface of the ice, each marked out by small dark objects. 
On closer examination these proved to be fragments of a skull 
and other bones, of a felt hat, of a wooden shoe with a nail in 
it, a bit of cloth, a piece of a stick, etc. Clearly they were the 
relics of some lonely wanderer who had perished on this huge 
glacier years before. I reported our discovery to our host, the 
cure at Notre Dame de Rhemes, that evening. He told me that 
similar discoveries had been previously made, and that on one 
occasion, with the relics, a piece of money, dating from the 


seventeenth or eighteenth century, had come to light, thus 
showing how long ago the misfortune had occurred. 

One of the most extraordinary escapes from a fall into a 
crevasse is that of Christian Bohren on the Upper Grindelwald 
glacier on July 7, 1787. Authentic records of it have been 
preserved, so that the main facts are beyond dispute. On the 
day named, Bohren, with his servant. Christian Inabnit, was 
leading some sheep and goats from a pasture on the slopes of the 
Wetterhorn to another on those of the Mettenberg. Inabnit 
was walking in front, when he heard a cry, and turning round, 
saw that his master had disappeared, doubtless down a deep 
crevasse. After having placed the animals in safety, Inabnit ran 
back, and, according to his own account, on calling down a crevasse 
near the presumed scene of the mishap, received an answer to 
the effect that Bohren was alive but had a broken arm. 
Bohren's version (published in August 1787 and repeated 
verbally by him in 1810) of what followed is, that finding he 
could stand upright, he soon noticed a mass of water flowing 
near him. The temperature seemed to be too high for this 
to be ice-water, so that he at once conjectured that by following 
its upward course he would gain the outer air. This he 
did, and on gaining the right edge of the glacier found that 
the stream in question was the Weissbach, a torrent that 
descends from the Wetterhorn slopes to the spot known as 
' im Schlupf,' between the Enge and the Zybach's Flatten or 
Tritten, just where it is still usual to cross the level ice between 
the two lower ice-falls. Managing, with his broken arm, nearly 
to reach the valley, he met the men who had come up with ropes 
and ladders to rescue him. The servant's version (reported by 
his son) is slightly different. On reaching the right edge 
of the glacier again, it occurred to him that perhaps by follow- 
ing the downward course of the Weissbach, he might find his 
master. This he did, and so rescued him from his alarming 
predicament. The estimates of the depth of the crevasse vary 
from 64 to 25 ft. In any case the means of issue was afforded 
by the Weissbach, and not (as often is stated) by the Liitschine 
at the very foot of the glacier. Bohren's estimate of the 


distance he traversed under the ice is 130 ft. (not steps, as 
has sometimes been said), while he apparently suffered no 
permanent harm from his adventure, as he died in 181 7, at 
the age of sixty-two. One of his grandsons was the well-known 
guide, Peter Bohren, nicknamed the ' Gletscherwolf ' (died 
in 1882). 

Some of the customs and laws as to glaciers are curious. 
Most quaint was the fifteenth-century feudal tenure by which 
the inhabitants of certain villages of the Ayas valley (a tributary 
of the Val d'Aosta) were bound to cover with earth the shining 
glacier on the Becca Torche (9892 ft.) — so that the reflection 
from the glittering snows might not injure the complexions of 
the ladies of the house of Challant, to which the glen 
belongs ! In more modern days the question of the legal 
ownership of glaciers has become a matter of practical interest. 
Much ice is taken from certain glaciers for the use of cities 
in the plains : Who has the right to grant concessions ? Tolls 
are often imposed on visitors penetrating into the artificially 
made caverns at the base of other glaciers : Who should 
authorise these tolls? By the retreat of the same glaciers, 
considerable tracts of land are uncovered : To whom do they 
belong ? A good deal of ink has been wasted by Alpine jurists 
in elaborating ingenious theories to meet these cases. In 
practice it has been held most generally that it is the State 
which is the owner of the glaciers within its limits, rather than 
the communes — so in Italy, in France, in the Tyrol, and in 
the duchy of Salzburg. In Switzerland it is the Canton which 
is the State, so that in Vallais, Vaud, and Bern the Canton 
exercises the rights of ownership. In Vaud the commune of 
Ormonts dessus declined in 1863 to allow the Diablerets glaciers 
to be reckoned among the lands of the commune, objecting to 
pay for the measuring of these fields of ice with a view to future 
taxation. On the other hand, the commune of Bex in the same 
Canton did lease the right to take ice from the glaciers in its 
territory (1863), but in 1864 the cantonal authorities success- 
fully resisted this claim, as an encroachment on the sovereign 
rights of the Canton. In the Orisons, the communes have 


always been very powerful (indeed they were long sovereigns), 
so that we are not surprised to hear that in that region the 
glaciers are held to belong to the owners of the land they 
cover — in other words, to the communes. There is, however, 
a curious exception in the case of the Scaletta glacier (above 
Davos), which belongs to private individuals. Now there are 
quite a number of ' Alps ' or mountain pastures in Switzerland 
which are held as private property. Why should not a multi- 
millionaire, seeking for novel methods of getting rid of his 
wealth, purchase glaciers, and in fact ultimately ' make a 
corner ' in them ? This prospect opens out vistas of amazing 
and most amusing possibilities. 

No account, however summary and brief, of the snowy 
region of the Alps would be complete without some mention 
of two phenomena that occur there. One is the existence of 
tracts, sometimes of considerable extent, and especially in the 
early summer, of Red Snow. This is found on snow slopes at 
the head of glaciers rather than on the ice of the glacier 
itself. It was long thought to be due to a minute insect, but 
it is now certain that it is caused by an equally minute plant, 
the Chlamydococais nivalis, which is pink in a state of 
germination, becomes deep crimson later on, and ends in 
black dust or mould. This red snow is a very surprising sight, 
though not a very common one. 

Now a few words as to the other phenomenon — Avalanches 
(the word means that which descends to a valley), or ' Lauinen ' 
(spelt also ' Lawinen '), the Italian name being 'valanga,' and 
that of the Engadine Ladin dialect, ' lavina.' It appears in 
mediaeval Latin under several forms — ' labin^e ' (used in a 
charter of Henry vi. of England, 1422-1461, as regards the 
Hospice of the Great St. Bernard), of ' lowinae ' (in a document 
of 1302, relating to the dangers encountered by the parishioners 
of Morschach, above Brunnen on the Lake of Lucerne, on 
their way to their parish church in Schwyz) and ' lavanchise ' 
(in two documents of 1475 ^^ regards the perils which would 
be avoided if the tunnel beneath the Col de la Traversette, at 
the N. foot of Monte Viso, were really to be pierced). Strictly 


speaking, the term ' avalanche ' appUes only to falls of snow or 
ice, but it is also often used in case of falls of rock or of earth. 
A vivid representation of a snow avalanche is given in a wood- 
cut in Stumpf's book of 1548, probably the earliest known 
picture of an avalanche. 

The real true avalanche (' Grundlauine ') is composed of 
half-frozen masses of snow, that have fallen on the mountain 
slopes during winter, and descend with enormous force when 
the thaw comes in spring, carrying all before them — trees, 
stones, animals, men, etc. It is a frightful thing to witness 
(even though from a safe distance) the descent of such an 
avalanche, and to hear the crackhng and see the bending of 
the mighty pines (often planted or preserved as a breakwater), 
sometimes bodily uprooted, sometimes springing back after the 
falling mass has passed over them — it is only later that the hoarse 
roar reaches the ear. Avalanches of this kind usually follow fixed 
channels and are known by special names, e.g. the ' Steglaui ' 
and the ' Schiissellaui ' in the Grindelwald valley ; but some- 
times they quit their ordinary tracks, and then the damage is 
greater (huts being carried off though built in what were thought 
to be secure positions), as is also the horrified surprise of the 
eye-witnesses. Another kind are the ' Staublauinen ' or 
' avalanches de poussiere.' These are formed of dry, powdery 
snow, and are less dangerous than the others ; however, if a 
man is caught by one, he may easily be swept off his legs and 
so lost, though it may simply flow over his devoted body. 
Such occur largely in winter, though also in early autumn after 
a first snow-fall. It is a marvellous sight to see the whole face 
of the Wetterhorn covered by a fall of this kind, as with a veil 
of lace, slowly and noiselessly dropping downwards. A rare 
variety of this kind is the ' Hail avalanche,' which was well seen 
during the great storm of August 3, 1906, when the great N.W. 
wall of the Eiger was draped in hissing hail and rushing water. 
' Glacier ' or ' ice ' avalanches are not very common. Such are 
the falls from the Giessen and Guggi glaciers, admired by tourists 
from the Wengern Alp, or at the foot of the Lower Grindelwald 
glacier. In 1636 and 1819 there was a great fall from the Bies 


glacier in the Zermatt valley, while in 1782 and 1895 similar 
falls took place on the Altels, above the Gemmi path. 

And now our readers can put to themselves the question 
addressed by the Lord to Job (xxxviii. verse 22, R.V.) : 
'Hast thou entered into the treasuries of the snow?' bearing 
ever in mind that 'entering' is not the same as 'knowing.' 






■•: v.. 










alpine flowers 
By George Yeld 

ALPINE flowers may be roughly divided into two classes — 
IX. the larger ones which are found in the pastures and 
woods, and the smaller which grow for the most part higher up 
and make beautiful rocks and crevices, and even the rugged 
face of cliffs and precipices up to altitudes of well over 
10,000 ft. 

Let me speak of the larger flowers first. It is, of course, 
impossible to give a list of them, and I shall ask my readers to 
accompany me to pastures and slopes where some of the most 
striking of them may be seen in masses. Indeed, for the most 
part, these larger flowers come not in single spies but in 
battahons, and in any given spot a particular flower is often 
dominant. I once crossed the Great St. Bernard in a late 
season, when there was snow all about the hospice, and when 
we descended on the Italian side, the higher meadows had not 
been touched by the cattle. No exhibition of hardy flowers 
could possibly compete with the glories of the first great stretch 
or basin of pasture which arrested my steps. Tennyson, in one 
of his early poems, sings : 

' The gold-eyed Kingcups fine ; 
The frail bluebell peereth over 
Rare broidry of the purple clover' ; 

but here the blossoms of the Globe flower {Trollius europaeus), 
in absolute perfection of a gold without alloy, flamed in the 
sunshine by the thousand : the dainty white cups of Ranunculus 


platanifolius gave here and there a flash of white ; and the less 
stately but even more beautiful blue masses of Alpine Forget- 
me-nots added perhaps the most lovely of all hues to the taller 
masses of white and gold. Many another bloom — flower-masses 
of Veronicas, for example — was to be found among them, but 
these three dominated the meadow — an Alpine triad never to be 

I have seen in the Italian Val Ferret roods — I will not say 
acres — of Gentiana purpurea, a little sombre, perhaps, but as 
they shimmered in the sunlight the flowers had a sumptuous 
richness of colouring not easily to be surpassed. Lower down 
was the Martagon lily in plenty, less vivid in colour, but still 
effective. The Veratrum, with its tall column of black or 
green blossoms and broad green leaves, is another of the larger 
flowers which is very effective. I have often found it near to 
the purple Gentian. I remember a spot — I think on the 
Torrent Alp above Leukerbad — where it was very plentiful. It 
grew amongst the last survivors of a pine forest and below a 
zone of the purple Gentian. For a short distance the two 
plants were to be found mixed together. The great yellow 
Gentian (^Gentiana luted) also claimed its share of the 

Perhaps the most perfect of all the Alpine flowers is the 
Alpine Columbine {Aquilegia alpina) ; I remember coming 
across it in fair numbers in a pasture that sloped to the Buthier 
torrent in the Valpelline. Some of the plants had been 
trodden down by the cattle, but enough were left to enable one 
to judge of this Columbine's supreme beauty. The large blue 
and white flowers are delicately poised on fairly tall stems and 
are graceful in the extreme. Perhaps the best flowers of it I 
ever saw were to be found — it is thirty years ago — not so far 
from the Riffelberg Hotel. They grew in a spot not very easy 
of access. When placed on the dinner-table with other choice 
flowers from the same neighbourhood they awakened a chorus 
of admiration from the ladies. 

Rarely, too, though in several places in the Eastern Graians, 
I have seen Ranunculus pyrenaeus cover the meadow with 


blossoms white and shapely as a breadth of snowdrops in 
spring, but not so closely packed together. This Ranunculus 
does not droop but holds its cup upright. 

It is not difficult to conjure up the sight of a great sloping 
meadow covered with myriads of the fragrant Poet's Narcissus 
above a great lake whose waters sparkle in the sunshine. Nor 
is it hard to conceive the splendour of the green terrace high 
above the great trough of the Val Tournanche, with the 
presence of the dark Cervin always felt, if not seen, when 
countless Alpine anemones, whether white or sulphur-yellow, 
have opened wide their shapely cups under the persuasion of 
the sun. Sometimes you may have a musical accompaniment 
to the study of such beautiful gardens of nature in the mellow 
notes of distant cattle bells, or the rising and falling melody of 
the merry mountain brook. 

The common foxglove is strikingly ornamental, with its tall 
spires of purple and white, in many English lanes and woodlands. 
Shorten the stems and make the flowers bright yellow, and you 
have the effect produced by the yellow foxglove in the Alps. 
The best flowers I have chanced upon were on the road from 
Andermatt to Goschenen, just below the Devil's Bridge, and on 
the way from the Col du Bonhomme to Bourg St. Maurice in 
the Tarentaise. 

Biscuteha laevigata is a plant for which I must own I have a 
rather exaggerated liking. It grows largely in the Cogne 
meadows and in the rough ground by the side of the torrent 
from the Valnontey. Its masses of yellow blossom remind me 
of a rock Alyssum with long stems. 

Large yellow flowers of Arnica mofitana in a mass are most 
eff"ective. My readers will recollect Tennyson's 'Field of 
charlock in the sudden sun.' Deepen the yellow and give the 
field a sharp slope and you will have some inkling of a mass of 
arnica on the rough green above the Marjelensee ; though to 
make the picture exact you must add an undergrowth of forget- 
me-nots and other little blossoms. Indeed the larger flowers 
are generally set in a mosaic of tiny blooms. 

One often finds Orchises in the meadows, one or two of 


which are sweet-scented. Perhaps the sweetest is the narrow- 
leaved Nigritella {Nigriiclla angustifolia), with its strong Vanilla 
fragrance. I have seen its dark rose-coloured blossoms in large 
numbers on the hillside above the left bank of the Oreo, close 
to Ceresole Reale. 

In moist places Butterworts are effective with their shining, 
oily, pale yellow-green leaves and blue or white flowers. The 
bogbean enjoys a watery habitat. Its white, rather woolly, 
flowers, slightly flushed with purple, are very fragrant. The 
bird's-eye primrose {Primula fori?iosa) loves a moist soil, and in 
a mass is quite an eff"ective flower, though the individual 
blossoms are small. I have seen it in May by the side of the 
Mont Cenis Railway, quite high up on the Italian side, in such 
numbers as to almost colour the spot where it grew ; though I 
dare say 1 should not have noticed it if I had not been 
specially looking for it. 

St. Bruno's lily, Anthericum {Paradisia) liliastrum, has a fine 
white bloom with yellow anthers, but this is a flower which I 
do not so much connect with masses of blossom as with purity of 
colour. One plant in full flower, later than its fellows, I remember 
well, for I found it just before we took to the rocks above the 
woods near La Vachey in the Italian Val Ferret. Perhaps I re- 
member it the better because near by it in our descent in the 
afternoon we had to climb through a little waterfall which, in the 
morning, had been hard frozen. 

Late in the Alpine season the pale purple Autumn Crocus, 
as it is often called, Colchicum autumnale, clothes the meadows 
with myriads of flowers. Above Villeneuve in the Aosta 
valley, under the shade of huge chestnuts and in orchards but 
lately shorn by the scythe, it is very numerous. Perhaps it is 
most welcome to the eyes on the way home from pass or peak. 
Last year it gave one quite a homely feeling to find it fairly high 
up the Lotschenthal, after we had spent a long day on the 
snow and ice of the grim mountain wall which bounds that 
narrow valley on its south side. 

Sometimes the Alpine traveller is pleasantly surprised by 
sweet scents when no flowers are visible. I remember lunching 


beside a torrent in the Val di Forzo, a tributary of the Val 
d'Orco, when, as I leant back against the green bank above the 
little stream by the side of which we were resting, a very sweet 
scent came floating on the air. I immediately began to search for 
the source of the fragrance and found it in some well-developed 
clumps of the mountain Cyclamen {Cycla??ie?i europaeum). This 
plant in its favourite habitat, when in large numbers and in full 
flower, is one of the most charming of all. 

The flowering shrubs of the Alps are many and attractive. 
Perhaps first we should put the Daphnes, many of which exhale 
an exquisite fragrance. The best known is the Garland Flower 
{Daphne Cneorum), whose deep-pink blossoms inherit a full 
measure of sweet scent. Azalea procumbens, which, as its 
name suggests, clings to the ground, is a notable plant. 

Cytisi of several kinds produce a great effect. ' Emerging,' 
as Mr. Hinchliff {Alpine Journal, v. p. 106) says, 'from the 
pleasant shade upon the open Creux de Champ, you fancy 
you see golden curtains hanging from ridges of brown rock, 
and festooned among the deep green branches of the pine 
forest. What a combination of colour ! Scramble up through 
beds of oak-fern and groves of that splendid Spiraea which 
waves its huge white crests before the breeze. Look up 
presently, and you will find what the golden curtain is made of. 
It is a magnificent Laburnum, the Cytisus alpinus, whose roots 
are buried between the rocks above, while a thousand tails of 
yellow blossom hang down in clusters before your delighted 

The Alpine rhododendron, commonly called the Alpine rose, 
once gave me one of the most effective sights in the flower-world 
that I can recall. I came upon it in a late season — acres of 
Rhododendron ferrugineum, in a forest where the trees grew at 
some distance apart. The brightness of the colour — a rich 
red, the extent of the flower show, the setting of pines and the 
background of stately ramparts of rock with an occasional 
waterfall, made the scene unique ; and the memory of it is 
proportionately vivid. Rhododendron chafnaecistus, a native of 
the Eastern Alps, is a small but beautiful shrub with paler and 


more delicate blooms than Rhododendron ferrugijjeum. The 
Alpine Clematis, with its comparatively large blue blossoms, is 
a very ornamental climber. 

The wild roses of the Alps, if they do not spread themselves 
abroad with the careless profusion which characterises their 
sisters of English hedgerows, have blossoms quite as bright, and 
in many cases a fragrance quite as delightful. I recall on one 
occasion, on my way from Cogne to Gimilian, the village 
high above the right bank of the Grand' Eyvia, in the early 
morning, noticing an unusually sweet scent in the air. A 
diligent search discovered the source of it in some bushes of a 
pure white rose such as I do not remember to have seen 

Let us now speak of the smaller and more delicate flowers. 
The feature of the Alpine flora which strikes most strongly 
those who see true Alpine flowers for the first time is the 
brilliancy of the colouring. As to the effect of height upon 
flowers I quote the following from the Alpine Club edition of 
the General Introduction to Mr. Ball's Alpine Guide (p. cxvi) : 
' If we examine individuals of the same species growing at diff"erent 
heights we find that with increasing altitude there is generally 
a deepening of the tints of the flowers ; for instance, the light 
blue of the forget-me-not becomes deeper, the yellow of hawk- 
weeds tends towards orange. It is a well-known fact that the 
colours or shades of Alpine flowers change when the plants are 
cultivated in gardens. In any family of flowering-plants in 
which flowers having different tints occur, it is often found that 
the yellow flowers are the simplest and most lowly organised, 
and that the blue flowers are the most highly organised. 
Further, it is known that, speaking broadly, in a family the 
successive advance of the complication of the flowers corre- 
sponds more or less to the colours in the following order : — 
yellow, white, pink, red, crimson, violet, blue. In Alpine 
flowers there is a larger percentage of the colours corresponding 
genetically to high organisation than there is in the lowland. 
For instance, the yellow of the lowland primrose and cowslip 
is supplemented by the violet tints of several species in the 


Alps. There is a pink-flowered Alpine saxifrage in addition to 
the ordinary yellow and white-flowered species. An orange-red 
Alpine hawkweed contrasts with the paler yellow lowland 
species. There are many flowers which are violet, or brilliant 
sapphire, or deep ultramarine [Cainpanula, Phyteuma, 
Saussured) ; the gentians vary in their different species from 
yellow, whitish green, to deep yet vivid blue ; the speedwells 
( Veronica) from pink to sapphire with a central spot, white or 
yellow, fringed with orange or vermilion. Frequently, too, the 
Alpine flowers have stronger scents, and pour out more honey 
than their lowland allies.' 

Just as it is not always the most beautiful woman that wins 
the most hearts, so it is not always the most beautiful flower that 
charms us most. Ranuncuhis glacialis has a modest blossom of 
white flushed with pink, rising above firm leaves of dark — I 
might almost say — sombre green ; but of all Alpine flowers 
which venture to make a home on the high rocks of the Alps 
this is the one which has perhaps most delighted me. ' Not as 
the feeblest and yet the favourite,' but as so often present to 
smile upon a difficult rock climb or to greet the mountaineer's 
eyes on the first rocks after an exciting passage of step-cutting 
in steep ice. I have found it at 12,400 ft. on the Pic de la 
Lune or Pointe de Ceresole in the mountains of Cogne, in a 
massive tuft, with many blossoms and a wealth of vigorous 
leaves. I once found strong tufts of it with many blooms rich 
in colouring on the last rocks of La Vierge in the midst of the 
great Geant Glacier, growing as freely as a house-leek on the 
crumbling wall of an old English garden, regardless of its wintry 
surroundings. I have met with it on the summit of the Tour 
de Creton on the great ridge which bounds the Val Tournanche 
on the west. I have come upon a perfect nursery of it at the 
top of the great cliffs between the much-crevassed Dzasset 
Glacier and the great Plan de la Tribulation on the west of the 
Valnontey above Cogne. I have seen it near the bleak head 
of La Noire ; but by far the most beautiful blossoms of it that 
I ever beheld were growing on the exposed north ridge of the 
shapely Becca di Monciair at the head of the Val Savaranche. 


We found them in an exposed position, two tiny blossoms on a 
sparse fringe of firm green leaves, much smaller in size than is 
usual, with less pink in their colouring, but with a purer gold 
in their centres than I ever knew them show elsewhere. It 
surely seemed as though their endurance of the keen frost and 
the biting wind had ennobled them, as so many of the purest of 
the high-growing Alpine plants are ennobled : as though beauty 
born of passionate fortitude had passed into their faces. 

The fairy forget-me-not iyEritrichiuin nafiuni) is a sight to 
dream of, not to tell — the most perfect of blues with the most 
shapely of tiny cups. Blue is perhaps of all colours the most 
difficult to define, but no blue that I have ever seen — whether 
that of the turquoise or the sapphire, or of the Sicilian sea on 
a perfect day — can excel the blue of this little flower. On a 
grassy ridge in Italy, at a height of 9000 ft., I have seen it 
in quantity. I have seen it in Switzerland at about the same 
height flourishing, but not so plentiful ; but to behold it in 
perfection you must climb higher. Then in some sunlit little 
hollow on a rock-wall facing south at 1 0,000 ft. you shall 
look upon it in perfection. The blossoms cover the hairy 
leaves from which the plant takes its name. They are as 
innocent, as taking, as childlike as our own ' Little speedwell's 
darling blue,' though richer in colour. One of the biggest 
tufts I ever found was on the south side of one of the Gemelli 
della Roccia Viva in the Eastern Graian Alps, at a height of 
probably close upon 11,000 ft. Its beauty appealed not only 
to me but to my guides. A cornice of red rock protected it, 
though I doubt not the moisture from above somehow trickled 
to its roots. 

Androsace glacialis is another of the dwellers on bleak 
heights and precipitous walls. There are other flowers — not 
Cleopatras, but Charmians — that find a place in our story. 
Such an one is Thlaspi rohindifolmm, with shining green leaves 
and pale purple or mauve flowers, unpretentious but welcome 
as an old friend. 

The red Rockfoil {Saxifraga oppositifolia) I have seen in 
better condition in the English Lake district than in Switzer- 


land, for it is generally out of flower in August. But to any one 
who finds it in perfection it is a very beautiful flower. On 
the southern side of the St. Gotthard tunnel, high up, it was 
to be seen in splendid tufts in mid- April, 1906. Red is 
always an eff"ective colour, and the red of this flower is set 
off by the brown of the anthers and the finely cut foliage. Of 
the many other saxifrages I will mention only the great pyra- 
midal-flowering Saxifraga Cotyledon. Of this I have seen 
wonderful examples in rocky hollows and ravines in the Eastern 
Graians. Tall, graceful, starred with a profusion of blossoms, 
they rose from strong, firm, silver-edged tufts of green, and 
waved their twinkling splendours over our heads in homes too 
high to be reached without a ladder. 

Of Gentians much might be said, but no one can properly 
appreciate them who has not seen twenty tufts of Gentiatia 
verna or bavarica in full bloom in full sunshine. The blue is 
full and deep, and, like that of the fairy forget-me-not, very 
difficult to describe. I may say without exaggeration that I 
have seen patches of it so large and of such vivid colour that 
the little basin where they grew shone blue in the sun. 

Gentiatia acauHs, too, must not be passed over. It is a 
beautiful and effective plant, and luckily well known in English 
gardens under the name of Gentianella. But in talking of 
blues I must not forget the pale blue bells of Campanula 
cenisia. This flower should be seen in a mass, as I have found 
it in the Graians. To the west of the ice-fall of the great 
Trajo glacier under the Grivoletta it may be admired in pro- 
fusion. Hundreds of pale blue bells over delicate green fohage 
give quite a striking effect for so small a flower. 

The Campanula excisa is a pretty flower. It is one of the 
special flowers of the Berisal district, where it may be found 
almost everywhere. It first struck me as an effective little 
plant high up in the Baltscheiderthal, where flowers were by 
no means numerous. 

Androsace (late Aretia) Vitaliana is a charming Alpine flower. 
The finest display of it I have seen was in a narrow, dry 
torrent bed above the Cerru lake at the head of the Val 


d'Orco. Hundreds of bright blossoms of a soft yellow fell 
like golden fringes over the rough stones. 

Alpine pinks have many beauties. Dianthus glacialis is 
delightful. Our own Cheddar pink, Dianthus caesius, is very 
pretty, but my favourite is Dianthus neglectus. A specially 
fine form of this variety is found in the Val Piantonetto in the 
South-eastern Graians. It is of a soft rose colour, and the 
flower is, comparatively speaking, large. 

There are some plants which may be found comparatively 
low down, and also comparatively high up. Of these is 
Chrysanthetnum alpinimi, always welcome. I have found it 
even at 10,000 ft. growing quite freely, but this was in Italy. 
The last time I saw it high up was on the Beichgrat in the 
Bernese Oberland, after bad weather, and there the frost had 
shrivelled it. Where it grows freely its masses of bloom 
captivate the eye at once. 

Let me take you to an Alpine slope at from 8000 to 
9000 ft. in a late season, say in the first week of August. 
There through the melting snow breaks the Soldanella of a 
fairy-like grace ; there the Alpine Wallflower shows a blossom 
much brighter in colour though shorter by a good deal in the 
stem than it ever puts forth in an English garden; there 
anemones, including the light purple Halleri, poise themselves 
in the sun. Forget-me-nots sparkle ' Azure of Heaven's own 
tinct'; primulas shine softly in crevices of rock: saxifrages 
cover the stones with trails of blossom, or spring in little 
sheets of bloom from masses of finely cut leaves. 

There are pansies too, possibly with a mark of heavy footsteps 
near them, for there are villages in the Italian Alps where the 
pansy is worn on August 15th by many villagers, and the 
Alpine slope we are talking of is the florist which supplies 
them. The most beautiful pansies I ever found were growing 
in the Arpisson basin above the Arpisson chalets near Cogne, 
famous for their view of the stately Grivola. In the first 
meadow of the alp, above the gorge through which the torrent 
falls in noisy haste, the myriads of rivulets that hurried through 
the grass were that morning fringed with icicles, and such 


sparkling jewellery as the night's frost had hung upon them : 
higher up the snow lay lightly, and edged the tiny blossoms 
of pansies and forget-me-nots. No splendid tear such as fell 
from Tennyson's passion-flower appeals to the flower-lover half 
as much as these half-frozen drops on the fragrant cup of the 
Viola. There were too, on that slope I spoke of, gentians 
of the richest blue ; A?iemone verfialis, with its setting of rich, 
glossy brown hairs ; and there also Silene acaulis covered 
rosettes of shining leaves with multitudinous blooms of 
pleasing red. 

Let me here quote one of the best accounts of a host of 
Alpine flowers ever written, by one who loved and knew them 
passing well.^ 

' On such Alps as those of the Faulhom there are acres of blue and 
white crocuses in full blossom under the snow ; and as the fierce 
midsummer sun daily diminishes the size of the snow patches, 
thousands of their blossoms emerge and gradually lift up with 
thankfulness their oppressed heads. If you raise a few handfuls 
of rather deeper snow, you will find hundreds more of them lying 
almost flat upon the ground, and anxiously waiting for their share 
of the great warmth-giver. A few feet only from the retiring snow, 
where the soil is still soaked with its melting, the purple bells and 
drooping fringe of the Soldanella alpina spring as by magic out of 
the ground which is yet brown from its burial during six months of 
wintry sleep. Lovely indeed is this waking from slumber, this 
melting of death into life. On one of those bright first days of 
July we ascended the INIannlichen, a grassy mountain about 7700 
ft. high, which forms the angle between the two Liitschine rivers, 
and thus commands the valley of Lauterbrunnen on one side and 
that of Grindelwald on the other. The collection of flowers grew 
rapidly as we moved upwards. Pink rhododendrons and purple 
columbines were supplemented by yellow anemones and blue 
gentians ; then came the white crests of Anemone narcissiflora, 
beautiful to behold ; then crocuses, blue and white, and beds of 
the lilac-belled soldanella on the margin of the snow. In open 
places upon the top was an abundance of the delicate Lloydia 
serotina and Myosotis alpestris, which far excels all other forms of 

1 Mr. T. W. Hinchliff, [ubi supra, pp. io8-q). 


There are some flowers which win a place in the mountaineer's 
regard, not so much for their intrinsic beauty, as because they 
clothe with their greenery or soften with the brightness of their 
blossoms the rough moraine or the wet rocks whence water 
oozes forth, or the rugged side of a mountain brook. The 
Alpine Toad Flax {Linaria alpina), with its purple and orange 
flowers, gives the climber many a pleasant surprise as he picks 
his way over rough ground. Saxifraga aizoides sometimes 
hides the birthplace of tiny streams with masses of its green 
leaves and flowers that vary much in colour ; and even such 
an unobtrusive plant as the creeping willow plays no incon- 
siderable part in softening the rough spaces between moraine 
and mountain pasture. In such spots, too, the mountain 
Avens {Dryas octopetala), with its white and gold, is often 

Mountain Cresses, with their little white flowers, can make 
quite a brave show when they have established themselves on 
the walls of an abysmal chasm absolutely impossible of ascent 
or descent for the cleverest of climbers. On the Plattenhorner, 
to the east of the Gemmi, in the gaunt ravines which seam 
the wall that faces the Torrent Alp, I marked them with 
admiration. You may look with awe down one of these chasms 
and snatch a fearful glimpse of green meadow many hundred 
feet below ; whilst on the chasm's walls here and there these 
cresses hang tenaciously. 

There are many everlasting flowers to be found in the Alps, 
the most famous of which is, of course, the Edelweiss {Gnapha- 
lium kontopodium). Though there are many slopes easy of 
access where it grows freely, yet every year many visitors to 
the Alps who are not accustomed to climbing of any sort 
lose their lives in attempting to gather this much-desired 
flower in places where the ground is difficult. It is, by the 
way, quite easy of cultivation in English gardens. There are, 
too, many plants which are gathered for the making of liqueurs. 
I once met on the slopes below the Herbetet at Cogne a man 
laden with a great sack of plants which he had been collecting 
for this purpose. The best known and most popular is, I 


believe, Artemisia mutellifia, ' le vrai genepy,' a plant also used 
medicinally by the peasants. 

We have given in this chapter but a brief account of the most 
prominent and beautiful of Alpine flowers. Whole clans of 
charming plants have been omitted, for example, the Arenarias 
and Fotefitilias, the Sedums and Sempervivuffis ; the most 
famous of the last-mentioned family is the Cobweb Houseleek 
{Sempervivum araduwideum), described by Mr. William Robin- 
son as 'one of the most singular of Alpine plants, with tiny 
rosettes of fleshy leaves covered at the top with a thick white 
down, which intertwines itself all over the leaves like a spider's 
web.' Ferns, which are among the most beautiful of all 
Nature's creations, have been intentionally omitted. 


By Howard V. Knox 

NO account of the Alps can be complete without some notice, 
however brief, of the principal Beasts and Birds which are 
still to be found in that region, a subject that is very interesting in 
many ways. In these pages we can touch only on a few repre- 
sentatives of each class, such, on the one hand, as the Bear, the 
Bouquetin, the Chamois, the Marmot, the White Hare, the Fox, 
etc. ; and, on the other, the Lammergeier, the Golden Eagle, the 
Alpine Chough, the Ptarmigan and the Wall-creeper. In all these 
cases we limit ourselves to the species that occur in the Alps 
(whether French, Swiss, Italian, or Austrian), the Fauna of which 
is, of course, by no means co-extensive with that of Switzerland, 
as is sometimes stated. 

A. — Some Beasts of the Alps 

Not so very long ago, historically speaking, the Brown Bear 
( Ursus arctos) was to be found throughout the whole of Europe, 
including Britam. But at the present day its range in that part 
of the world is restricted to the vast forests in the North and to 
the great mountain systems that extend from the Caucasus to 
the Pyrenees. In the Western and Eastern Alps it is now very 
rare indeed. In the Central or Swiss Alps its last remaining 
stronghold is in the dense forests of pine and scrub to the east of 
Zernetz in the Lower Engadine. In that neighbourhood, up to 
the year 1884, its existence was demonstrated, though hardly 
favoured, by the fact that one or more specimens were secured 


r-i V 

^ o 

:2 a- 

<- -3 







almost yearly as trophies of the chase. Since that date, however, 
the slaughter of a bear in the Swiss Alps is ever more rarely 

To human beings the brown bear is apt to be more alarming 
than dangerous. Except when wounded, or on guard over its 
cubs, or very hard pressed by hunger, it, as a rule, ostentatiously 
effaces itself on the approach of man. But Bruin, though sub- 
sisting chiefly on a vegetarian diet, when this fails, will often 
leave his hidden retreat in order to make a nocturnal raid on 
sheep or cattle. He even, on occasion, breaks into the hut 
wherein the goats are shut up, and drags forth a victim. 

In dealing with the subject of bears in the Alps it is impossible 
to avoid all mention of the bear-pit at Berne. With hardly a 
break since 15 13 this has been a regular institution of the town, 
in keeping with the adoption of a bear for the arms of both town 
and Canton. As far back as 1224 the official seal of the town 
(founded in 1191) displayed a bear, while the traditional deriva- 
tion of the name Berne from ' Baren ' (bears), though formerly 
scouted by many learned men, now receives a certain measure of 
support from recent historical writers. In view of the special 
association of bears with the town and Canton of Berne, it is 
interesting to note that the last bear that was killed, in the wild 
state, within the limits of the Canton, was shot in 181 9 in the 
neighbourhood of Riederen, a hamlet in the Diemtigen glen of 
the Simmenthal. 

One of the very last well-authenticated cases of the occurrence 
of bears in the Canton of Berne was that of a formidable animal 
which, for several weeks in the autumn of 1792, haunted the 
neighbourhood of the Little Scheidegg, near Grindelwald. It 
decimated the flocks that grazed the pastures on either slope of 
that pass, but, though hunts were continually organised for the 
purpose of ridding the country-side of this terror. Bruin for a long 
time contrived to evade the hunters. But at last three men of 
Grindelwald came upon him at no great height above their 
valley, and each of their bullets found a billet in his body. 
Nevertheless the bear made off, bullets and all, and for the space 
of more than an hour clambered up the wooded slopes of the 


Mannlichen. Here he had the misfortune to encounter yet a 
fourth Grindelwalder, a young fellow named Hans Kaufmann. 
This youth levelled his musket at the monster, and pulled the 
trigger. But, owing presumably to the snowy weather, the 
musket refused to go off, while the bear, on the other hand, 
resolutely came on. Rearing himself on his hind legs he sought 
to enfold the hunter in a close embrace. Kaufmann, however, 
stood his ground bravely, and repelled these advances with the 
butt-end of his weapon, which he used with such vigour that, 
while the musket flew into pieces, the bear sank dead at his feet. 
For his valiant conduct Kaufmann received from the cantonal 
authorities, in addition to the usual sura awarded for the slaughter 
of a bear, ' a special recompense of a new louis d'or^ The 
musket, too, was replaced by the free gift of a new weapon, taken 
from the public armoury. 

The protection extended by the kings of Italy to the Bou(iuetm 
or Steinbock {Capra ibex) has so far saved it from the fate 
which seems to threaten the brown bear. In 1856-7 Victor 
Emmanuel 11. acquired exclusive hunting rights in the district of 
Cogne (S. of the valley of Aosta), and placed the existing herd of 
bouquetins under the strictest supervision. That there were then 
any of these animals left at all was in all probability due to 
the action taken by the Piedmontese Government, at the instance 
of the naturalist Zumstein, in 182 1, when severe laws were passed 
prohibiting the pursuit of the few specimens of this species to be 
found within its territory. Under the watchful care of the king's 
keepers the original small herd quickly increased in numbers to 
about three hundred, and continues to flourish to the present 
day in the Cogne district, though outside that region the animal, 
except as a straggler, is no longer to be met with, for the colonies 
transported to the Orisons and the Tyrol have not long survived. 
In fact, these bouquetins are now the sole representatives of their 
species, for though allied species of ibex occur elsewhere in 
Europe, the form found in the Alps is peculiar to that region. 

The dwindling in numbers of the bouquetin, a process which, 
in one district, was so fortunately arrested in the very nick of 
time, as just described, had already been going on during a 


lengthy period. As early as the beginning of the sixteenth 
century this diminution had made itself felt, and by the end of 
the same century the animal had become extremely rare, even 
in those parts (such as the Grisons) wherein it was formerly 
most abundant. Though now extirpated from Swiss soil, it has 
left a memento of its former presence, as it is borne on the arms 
of Interlaken and of Unterseen, as well as on those of the Grey 
League of the Grisons and of the city of Coire. 

A further cause (perhaps also partly an effect) of the rarity 
of the bouquetin, even in mediaeval times, was the belief in the 
therapeutic efficacy of different parts of its body, a belief which, 
of course, greatly enhanced the value of the carcase. There 
was also a superstition to the effect that a goblet fashioned from 
its horns would enable the user to detect the presence of any 
poison in the liquid contents. All sorts of wild tales, indeed, 
were current in those days concerning the bouquetin and its 
ways. Even so genuine a naturalist as the celebrated Conrad 
Gesner, writing in the middle of the sixteenth century, repro- 
duces in all good faith the legend that the bouquetin, when it 
feels that the sands of its life are running low, betakes itself to 
some pinnacle of lofty loneliness, and there, hooking a horn to 
the summit, proceeds madly to twirl round, till at last the horn 
is worn through, and the animal is precipitated into the 
depths. It is curious, by the way, that a somewhat similar tale 
is told (by the same author) of the chamois. The chamois, he 
says, when hard pressed by the hunter, and driven into some 
position whence further escape is impossible, obligingly hangs 
itself up on a rock by its hooked horns (presumably thus acknow- 
ledging that the game is up) and so suffers itself to be taken. 

While the bouquetin belongs to the family of the goat, the 
Chamois {Rupicapra tragus) has the distinction of being, in 
Western Europe, the sole representative of the antelope tribe. 
Less powerful-looking, but shapelier, than the bouquetin, the 
chamois, by its fearless and graceful carriage, proclaims its sure 
possession of the hills. Marvellous as are the stories often told 
as to the climbing powers of the chamois, it is, in truth, almost 
impossible to exaggerate this animal's mastery of the rocks. 



The true habitat of the chamois in the summer months is the 
region between the snow-Hmit and the Hmit of trees. The old 
bucks, however, commonly lead a solitary and somewhat sedentary 
life on the upper fringe of the pine forests, until they sally forth 
in the early winter to seek, and often to battle for, a mate. The 
does and young males herd together in companies of from five 
to thirty individuals, and live at a much greater altitude. While 
feeding, they generally depend for safety on the vigilance of a 
sentinel — invariably an old female — which, on the approach of an 
enemy, gives the signal of alarm by a loud sibilant whistle. 

On the arrival of winter the chamois are driven down to a level 
lower than that of their summer haunts, though even at this 
season they hardly ever come much below the tree-limit. They 
usually take up their night-quarters huddled together under some 
spreading pine, whence at daybreak they ascend for a time 
to the inhospitable-looking slopes above, where the ground is too 
steep to hold more than a thin coating of snow. Then, scratch- 
ing away the snow with their forefeet, they eat whatever moss or 
dried herbage they find beneath. 

In winter the old bucks develop a mane-like fringe of dark 
bristly hairs along the back. This is the so-called ' Gemsbart ' — 
beard in the proper sense the animal does not possess — so highly 
prized by the chamois-hunter, who carefully picks out the longest 
hairs, and puts them together in a tuft, to be worn in his hat, as 
a token of his prowess, on festal occasions. 

Almost everywhere in the Western and Central Alps — less 
frequently in the Eastern Alps — the wanderer in the region 
just below the snow-line will hear the loud, shrill whistle, which 
is the alarm signal of the Marmot {Arctomys marmota). This 
rodent is, in fact, more often heard than seen, its dark-brown 
colouring rendering it, when at rest, very difficult to distinguish 
among the sparse herbage and rocks of its lofty home. But 
any one who makes good use of his eyes is sure to get an occa- 
sional sight of this animal, as it scuttles off to its burrow with an 
agility hardly to be expected from its rather quaint and squat 
little figure. 

The marmot lives in colonies of varying numbers, but, in 


summer at least, each burrow is inhabited by a single family. 
Sometimes, but not always, the same burrow is used as a 
summer and as a winter home. The change from summer 
to winter quarters, wherever it takes place, involves a descent 
to a lower level. The animals prepare for winter by carrying 
into their sleeping-room a quantity of dry grass, with which 
the floor is entirely covered, so as to provide a comfortable 
couch for the two or three families that usually club together 
at this season. About the middle of October the burrow is 
closed up, from within, by a closely packed wad, composed 
chiefly of hay, which, however, is placed, not at the entrance 
of the burrow, but at a distance of one or two feet therefrom. 
In the snug home thus carefully prepared the whole party, 
numbering from five to fifteen individuals, sleep away the long 
winter months, unless they are dug out by some ruthless hunter. 
In this state of hibernation the vital activities are almost entirely 

The White Hare {Lepus variabilis) and the Stoat (^Foetorius 
ermifiea), though widely dissociated in the scheme of scientific 
classification, and related often as hunter and hunted, are alike 
in the colour-change they undergo from brown in summer to 
white in winter, when the stoat is known as the ermi?ie. Both 
the white hare and the stoat range in the Alps to a height of 
10,000 ft. It should be observed that the white hare is a 
totally distinct species from the common hare {Lepus timidus), 
though the two species often mingle in the upper and lower 
limits of their respective regions, while hybrids between them 
are not uncommon in a natural state. 

A near relative of the stoat, viz. the Stone-Marten {Maries 
foina), and another familiar carnivore, the Common Fox {Canis 
vulpes), are sometimes found in summer at a great elevation in 
the Alps. The mountain-dwelling fox has usually a grey appear- 
ance in winter owing to the hairs of its head and back being at 
that season tipped with white. In this condition of fur it is 
known as the ' Silver Fox,' and the skin has then a considerable 
commercial value. 

The little Snow-mouse {Arvicola nivalis) must not be omitted 


from our list of animals found in the Alps. It was first dis- 
covered in 1841 by Martins on the Faulhorn. Of all European 
mammals it is the one which lives constantly at the greatest 
elevation. It is abundant in many parts of the Alps at an 
altitude of about 7000 ft., and has been observed on the 
Finsteraarhorn at a height of considerably over 12,000 ft. above 
the sea-level. How it contrives to support life through the 
long winter is something of a puzzle. It does not hibernate 
like the marmot, but leads an active existence within the 
tunnels which it drives between the deep-lying snow and the 
surface of the earth. 

B. — Some Birds of the Alps 

The Lammergeier {Gyphactus barbatus), the finest of all the 
European birds of prey, was once common throughout the 
entire chain of the Alps. But so persecuted has it been that 
it is doubtful whether any individuals whatsoever linger in some 
fastness of the mountains, though it is possible that the Italian 
Alps still harbour some specimens. The partly vulturine appear- 
ance of the bird is due to the form of the beak, for the head 
and neck are fully clothed with feathers. It owes the name 
of Bearded Vulture (as also its scientinc name) to the short 
black tuft of bristly feathers under the chin. Well-authenticated 
instances are on record of the Lammergeier having attacked 
children, while popular tradition credits it with a propensity 
for carrying off babies to its eyrie, when the chance offers. It 
does not seek carrion for choice, but prefers to kill its own 
game. If this be of large size (for example, a chamois) the 
bird's method of attack is to buffet the victim with its wings, 
till the harassed quarry is driven over a precipice. It is 
especially partial to bones as an article of diet, and, when they 
are too large to be swallowed whole, it is said to drop them 
from a height, so as to break them into smaller pieces. This 
habit of the bird was known to the ancients. According to 
PHny {Nat. Hist., x. 3), it was a Lammergeier which caused the 
death of ^Eschylus by dropping a tortoise from on high on to 


the poet's bald head, which it regarded as an attractive object 
on which to break the obdurate shell. 

The following account is given by Prof. C. Zeller (in his 
Alpentiere im Wechsel der Zeii, Leipzig, 1892, p. 40-1) of the 
last Lammergeier known to have met its death in the Swiss 
Alps : ' Its home was the Canton of the Vallais, where for the 
space of a quarter of a century it dwelt among the jagged peaks 
of the Lotschenthal. The inhabitants, whose cats disappeared 
with a surprising regularity, knew the bird intimately. It was 
a female of advanced age, as was plain from its almost white 
under-parts, and was familiarly known as ' salt Wyb ' (the Old 
Woman). To this bird the well-known eyrie on the Hohgleifen 
(10,762 ft.) once belonged. Her mate was shot in 1862. 
From that time onwards the eyrie was unoccupied. Whether 
it was that no fresh suitor offered himself, or that the ageing 
matron no longer cared to take upon herself the responsibilities of 
a family, the ' Old Woman ' led a lonely widowed Hfe for a quarter 
of a century. The venerable dame of the Lotschenthal Alps 
came at last to a lamentable end. She was found dead, above 
Visp, in February, 1887, beside the corpse of a poisoned fox. 
Her skin subsequently found an abode in the Natural History 
Museum at Lausanne.' 

Though now much rarer in the Alps than formerly, the 
Golden Ea^le {Aquila chrysactus) is still occasionally to be 
seen there, singly or in the company of its mate, wheeling high 
in wide circles, in search of prey. Hares, ptarmigan, foxes, 
marmots, young chamois, yearly yield the eagle a heavy tribute, 
but smaller animals are also brought under contribution. As 
a nesting-place the Golden Eagle usually chooses a ledge about 
half-way up some great mountain cliff, while the eyrie is almost 
invariably protected against molestation from above by being 
placed under an overhanging bit of rock. The nest is a bulky 
platform of fair-sized sticks, with a slight covering of smaller 
boughs and of roots. 

The least observant of travellers in the Alps can hardly fail to 
have his attention attracted by the Alpine Chough {Pyrrhocorax 
alpinus), a bird which belongs pre-eminently to the upper regions 


of rock and snow. Of the size and general appearance of a 
jackdaw, it is easily distinguished from that bird by its slighter 
build, its slender curved yellow bill, and its coral-red legs, while 
the cry, a shrill, loud chirrup, which it constantly emits, also 
makes it easy to identify at a considerable distance. The 
Alpine Chough usually lives in large bands, and the evolutions 
of a flock form a beautiful sight. In summer this bird is often 
found at enormous heights, and it has even been observed on the 
summit of Monte Rosa (15,217 ft.). It breeds in colonies, at 
a height of from 5000 to 9000 ft., on precipitous cliffs, the nest 
being built in a fissure of the rock. It never leaves the neighbour- 
hood of the mountains, though in a severe winter it may descend 
to the plains at their base. 

Another characteristic bird of the higher regions is the 
Ptarmigan {Lagopus itiutus), or ' Schneehuhn,' which in hot 
summer weather is sometimes found high up on the neve. Even 
in winter — at which season the whiteness of the plumage which 
it then assumes matches that of the snow-mantle — it prefers to 
remain above the tree-limit, though it occasionally descends to 
the upper fringe of the pine forests. 

Of the smaller birds that are to be found in the snow region 
perhaps the most representative, and certainly the most attractive, 
is the Wall-creeper {Tichodroina f/mraria), which has been aptly 
called the 'humming-bird of the Alps.' The brilliant scarlet 
bands and the pure white spots on the wings are all the more 
effective in contrast with the quiet grey and black of its general 
colouring ; and are displayed to the best advantage as the bird, 
its wings half-spread, creeps with mouse-like movements over the 
face of the bare and precipitous rocks that form its favourite 



HITHERTO we have considered the Alps in themselves, 
as a great mountain chain, rising in peaks, or sinking 
at intervals to form passes, in parts covered with eternal snow, 
yet in parts affording rich pastures to cattle in summer ; a 
chain here rugged, there smiling, and yet, save in the case 
of the cattle driven up in summer to the high pastures, a 
chain inhabited but by a few living creatures, though produc- 
ing many glorious flowers born only to waste their sweetness on 
the desert air. 

We must now go on to speak of the presence of man in the 
Alps, and of the influences which mountains and men have 
exercised on each other. 

We have not the slightest idea when man first penetrated 
into the recesses of the Alps, nor what manner of men they 
were who first had the courage to explore these mysterious 
valleys and push up the banks of rushing mountain torrents 
which flowed down from snows that seemed to touch the sky. 
A few skeletons scattered here and there, some pieces of 
jewellery of a singularly artistic nature, possibly a few rude 
monuments, scarcely now to be distinguished from the rocks 
carved by Nature herself — that is all we know of the first 
inhabitants of the Alps. If they had chroniclers who set forth 
their varying fortunes, or bards who sang the deeds of their 
doughty heroes, neither chronicles nor epics have been 
preserved for future generations. Anthropologists may weave 
elaborate and somewhat cobwebby theories as to the origin of this 
primitive folk, based on the length of the heads of their skeletons, 



or the size of the limbs belonging thereto, but they can tell us 
nothing about them which is of human interest — their speech, 
their manners, their customs, their political or social institu- 
tions. In short, the aboriginal inhabitants of the Alps are to 
us merely a set of specimens shown in museums, ticketed 
and dust-covered, and devoid of attraction save to a few learned 
pundits. The Alps remained for centuries a dim, mysterious 
region, which indeed gave rise to the great rivers that fertilised 
Central Europe, and which was made the scene of many a 
legendary tale or adventure, or the home of gods and demi- 
gods. But of its actual inhabitants the civilised world, then 
limited, in that part of Europe, to Italy, knew nothing definite 
till their attention was most painfully awakened by the thunder- 
clap of the news that Hannibal, the Carthaginian, had succeeded 
in forcing his way across them (b.c. 218), and was descending 
from these icy heights in order to ravage the fair plains of 
Italy. But of his great feat of courage we have no con- 
temporary accounts, nor, unluckily for us, was he accompanied 
by a swarm of ' special correspondents ' who would have 
unveiled the Alps to us as they have recently unveiled Lhassa. 
We only gather echoes of this passage of the Alps, echoes that 
resound in writers of a later age, and that have been wafted 
so long from one quarter to the other that the impression left 
on us is of a roaring and rushing of the air that confuses 
instead of informing our minds. 

Still later, when the Romans actually came into contact with 
the inhabitants of the Alps, they did not pay much attention 
to them, considering them as ' barbarians ' unworthy to be 
noticed by men of superior culture, and their country as a 
horrible desert to be traversed as quickly as possible in order 
that the smiling plains on the other slope of this inhospitable 
chain might be reached, and annexed with the slightest loss of 
time to the wide dominions of these 'superior persons.' The 
main object of Ceesar, Pompey, and their lieutenants was not 
to tarry in the Alps in order to study the language and customs 
of their inhabitants, but to utilise some of them as guides, 
porters, and so on, while keeping a tight hand on the rest in 


order to secure the safety of the main route across the Alps. 
What would we not give now for the report of some inquirer 
who, like the well-known Teuton of our own days, had caused 
himself to be shut up in a cage in a forest with a phonograph, 
in order to reproduce with the utmost nicety the language of 
the natives, whether men or monkeys ! Yet the conquest 
of the Alps by the Romans had its importance, in that it 
first brought the inhabitants of the region face to face with 
a civilised race. Political relations were established between 
them, and the political history of the Alps (of which more in 
the next chapter) had begun. 

The knowledge of the Alpine folk possessed by the outer 
world has, roughly speaking, kept pace with the closer political 
relations established with them. The original inhabitants gave 
way before or were absorbed by successive streams of wanderers, 
following each other like the waves of the ocean. Some of 
these tribes pressed ahead and were, in time, lost among the 
inhabitants of the plains on the S. slope of the great chain. 
Others, less energetic, played the part of loiterers, were left 
behind by their more active comrades, and so settled down in 
the higher valleys on one side or other of the divide. Others, 
finding their farther progress barred by the advance-guard, 
or being repelled with indignation as troublesome intruders, 
once more, reluctantly, took up their staves and retraced their 
steps till, somewhere, in some valley, they found a resting- 
place for their weary feet. These new inhabitants came from 
all sides, repeatedly crossed each other's tracks, and wandered 
in every direction, finally reproducing in the Alps, from the 
point of race and language, phenomena similar to those 
which the geologist tells us appeared there long before 
and describes under the names of inverted and folded strata. 
As the centuries rolled by, the stronger tribes absorbed those 
that, for any reason, were more weakly, and sometimes even 
(to the confusion of future historians and philologists) assumed 
the names and arms, as it were, of the absorbed peoples. 
Tribal characteristics were gradually smoothed out and reduced 
to a few leading types. Yet even in historic days a counter- 


current to this process of ironing out made itself felt. Emigra- 
tions, though on a smaller scale, took place from time to time, 
for instance that of the German-speaking Vallaisans in the 
thirteenth century to the S., the N. and the E., so that 
Vallaisan traces, whether in the spoken dialect or in the 
local names, are to this day found in the valleys S. of Monte 
Rosa, and in the Val Formazza, and in the glens N. of the 
great ice-clad range of the Bernese Oberland, and far away in 
the Orisons, near the sources of the Rhine. Add to these 
belated emigrations the shiftings due to political causes, and 
we shall better understand how it comes to pass that, while 
in the Alps there are ' natural frontiers ' from the purely 
physical point of view, there are none so far as regards the 
nationality (as shown by the language) of their inhabitants 
when considered as articulate beings and not as political pawns 
or units. The theory of natural frontiers has, of course, an 
enormous historical importance, and is often based on the 
language spoken by the persons whom the speaker ' desires 
to annex.' Not a single one of the existing Alpine powers can 
boast of ruling all the folk whose mother-tongue is identical 
with, or similar to, its own. These variations from a cast-iron 
theory are, of course, due to historical causes ; in other words, 
are the result of the processes sketched out above, which are 
still, to a smaller or a greater extent, going on under our own 
eyes. The Alps, in short, far from having hemmed the 
' Wandering of the Nations ' at any date from the fifth century 
onwards, have rather served as a great highway, with many 
branching byways, which have led the wanderers up and down, 
right and left, in zigzags and by straight lines, till the labyrinth 
seems to lack any clue whatsoever. Yet there is one, that 
namely afforded by history, though it only enables us to unravel 
the tangled skein with much labour and trouble, and then 
with merely a high degree of probability and not with absolute 
certainty. At first sight, however, it seems as if the exceptions 
to a few general principles are very insignificant, though, as is 
usually the case, the more closely we study a subject the more 
intricate does it appear to be. 


In the next chapter the historical events which have produced 
this shot-silk result will be set forth in outUne, for many 
volumes would be required to describe them in detail, so that 
the patience of the reader would give way perhaps even before 
that of the author and the publisher. Here let us try to get 
some general idea of the existing state of things from several 
points of view, political, linguistic, and religious, and then we 
can better appreciate the rather numerous exceptions which 
sometimes, though not invariably, serve to impress a rule on 
the mind of an industrious student. 

I. As regards political allegiance the Alpine folk are partly 
Republicans (not all of the same hue), partly imperialists, and 
partly royalists. The judicious reader may draw varying con- 
clusions from this seeming impartiality in the high sphere of 
politics. Some may point to the connection between the free air 
of the Alps and that of a republican form of government. Others 
may plead that one of these two Alpine Republics is of very modern 
date, to which reproach a stickler for accuracy may retort that 
the same is even truer of the two royal governments, while a 
third critic may point out that, after all, the single Empire is 
not in much better case. Yet allowing that the present state 
of things is on the whole very modern, the reactionary as well 
as the revolutionist may still hope that soon there will be a 
change in one or other direction. In point of antiquity the 
Swiss Republic leads the way, having been founded in 1291, 
though it was later when the Cantons, which extend in whole 
or in part over the great divide of the Alps, entered the 
Confederation as full members — both Tessin and the Orisons 
in 1803 and the Vallais in 18 15, their wide territories being 
separated by the narrow gorge of Uri, one of the three original 
Cantons. Over five centuries younger than the Swiss Con- 
federation are the Empire of Austria (the Emperor Francis 11. 
assumed the title of Emperor of Austria in 1804, though he 
did not resign that of Holy Roman Emperor till 1806) and 
the kingdom of Bavaria (1806). Still more modern are the 


kingdom of Italy (1861, while Venetia was won in 1866) and 
the French Republic (1870). 

Probably the Alpine state which rules the most extensive 
portion of the Alps is Italy, which practically holds their entire 
S. slope, with the rather important exceptions of Tessin (Swiss) 
and the Trentino (Austrian). On the other slope France claims 
nearly the whole W. or N. slope of the Western Alps, save a bit 
of the Vallais ; the Swiss Confederation the whole of the Central 
Alps, with a bit (the Lower Vallais) of the Western Alps, and 
Austria practically the whole of the Eastern Alps. Bavaria's share 
takes in a bit of the Eastern Alps (N. of the Vorarlberg and the 
Tyrol), which a German writer plaintively describes as ' only 
a portion of the N. slope of a part of the low limestone range,' 
and as ' rather an approach to the Alps than a fragment of the 
Alps themselves.' Yet this small fragment is the only region of 
the Alps, high or low, that actually belongs to the German Father- 
land, a fact which arouses different sentiments in different men. 

Such are the main lines on which the Alps are at present 
partitioned among the great Alpine powers. France (and 
naturally Bavaria) alone now owns not a yard on the opposite 
side of the divide save possibly a bit of the top of Mont Blanc. 
The three other states, however, all extend their claws across 
the physical frontier. 

Let us take the case of Italy first. On looking at a detailed 
map of the Maritime Alps the eye is at once struck by the 
fact that a considerable region S. of the main chain (which 
here runs E. and W.) is now included in Italian territory. 
This region became Italian for two entirely different reasons 
which apply to its two divisions. The portion which, roughly 
speaking, lies W. of the Col de Tenda and the Roja valley, 
though it is E. of the main divide, takes in the heads of several 
Alpine glens — those of Castiglione and Mollieres are affluents 
of the Tinee, itself an affluent of the Var, while those of 
Boreon, Finestre, and Gordolasca are tributaries of the Vesubie, 
which joins the Var a little below its meeting with the Tinee. 
It is believed, though the matter is wrapped in some obscurity, 
that all these glens (which formed part of the county of Nice) 


were in i860 left by France to Italy as a graceful concession 
to the hunter-king, Victor Emmanuel n., who had all the 
hunting rights on the N. side of the divide, and desired also 
to have those on the S. slope. The history of the other portion 
is quite different. The Roja valley, descending from the Col 
de Ten da to the sea at Ventimiglia, is E. of the main divide 
of the Alps that runs S. from the Mont Clapier to the 
Turbie spur. But Italy now possesses only the lower (Venti- 
miglia) and the upper (Tenda) thirds of the glen. The middle 
bit (Fontan, Saorge, and Breil, all on the E. slope of the main 
divide of the Alps) belongs to France, which is thus able to block 
the valley, and to prevent (if it wishes) the construction of the 
railway from the S. foot of the Col de Tenda right down the 
Roja valley to Ventimiglia. The truth is that this middle third 
of the valley formed part of the county of Nice, having about 
1250 separated itself from the rest of the valley and done 
homage to the Count of Provence, from whom the House 
of Savoy got the county of Nice in 1388, making it over to 
France in i860. But the upper and lower thirds remained in 
the hands of the original lords of the whole valley, the Counts 
of Ventimiglia (in the case of the upper third of a cadet branch, 
the Counts of Tenda), and from them passed in two bits (the lower, 
after belonging to the Grimaldi family and Genoa, in 1815, and 
the upper bit in 1575) to the House of Savoy. Thus what is 
certainly an anomaly of practical importance is shown to have its 
roots in the far past. In i860 France did get practically all the 
county of Nice, but no part of the county of Ventimiglia or of 
Tenda. Two other small fragments of territory on the ' wrong ' 
{i.e. N.) slope of the Alps also belong to Italy — the wild Val di 
Lei, whose stream runs down to the Swiss Avers valley, and so 
to the Hinter Rhine, and the fertile hay-glen of Livigno, 
through which the Spol descends to join the Inn in the Lower 
Engadine. These two districts came to Italy in 1859, as the 
Val di Lei was in the county of Chiavenna, and Livigno in 
that of Bormio, both, with the Valtelline, then passing, as 
included in ' Lombardy,' to the House of Savoy, which in 1861 
obtained the crown of united Italy. 


Surprising as it may seem, the possessions of the Swiss Con- 
federation on the S. slope of the Alps are more extensive than 
those of Italy on the other slope. In the thirteenth century the 
small German-speaking villages of Simplon (Simpeln) and 
Gondo (Gunz or Ruden) were colonised from the Vallais, and, 
with it, became Swiss in 1815. More important is the Italian- 
speaking Canton of Tessin, formed in 1803 out of various fifteenth 
and sixteenth century conquests of the Swiss : the portions best- 
known to foreigners are the Val Leventina, down which roars 
the St. Gotthard train after passing through the great tunnel, and 
the frequented resorts of Lugano and Locarno. The Swiss Con- 
federation also holds (since the formation of the Canton of the 
Grisons in 1803) three Itahan-speaking valleys, those of Mesocco 
(with its tributary of Calanca) that joins the Val Leventina 
at Bellinzona, and, farther E., the better-known glens of 
Bregaglia and Poschiavo. In 1480 Mesocco entered the Ober 
Bund (one of the Three Rsetian Leagues) through its lords, 
the Trivulzio family of Milan (who in 1549 sold all their 
rights to the valley dwellers), while the other glens respectively 
in 1367 and 1408, through their lord, the Bishop of Coire, 
became part of the League of God's House. Yet another 
Grisons valley, the upper bit of that of Munster, close to Livigno, 
and watered by the Ram, an affluent of the upper Adige, lies on 
the S. slope of the Alps: it, too, came to the Grisons (1762) 
as heir of the Bishop of Coire, and as its inhabitants are mostly 
Ladin-speaking, we see that the Swiss territories on the S, slope 
of the Alps are occupied by three populations speaking three 
distinct tongues. 

Finally, Ajistria holds since 18 15 the whole tract S. of the 
Brenner Pass, which practically consists of the territories of the 
secularised (1803) bishoprics of Brixen (German-speaking save 
the Ladin-speaking folk of the Groden valley) and of Trent 
(Italian-speaking, with the exception of a few German islets). 
Austria, too, holds the considerable Slavonic-speaking region in 
and near the Isonzo valley, W. of the main chain, as well as a 
more extensive territory of the same kind E. of the divide. 

Such is the present political condition of the Alpine portions 


of the great Alpine states, which, it should be noticed, are far 
from being exclusively Alpine (as were smaller states in the 
Middle Ages, like the Dauphine, the Vallais, the Grisons, the 
Tyrol, the bishopric of Trent, etc.), for all possess wide plains as 
well as Alpine districts. 

It is only possible to estimate roughly the present number of 
the inhabitants of the Alpine districts. They probably do not 
exceed 9,000,000 in all. About 3,000,000 are German-speaking, 
while the French-speaking folk may be put at about 2,300,000, 
being slightly exceeded by those who claim Italian as their 
mother-tongue. The Slavonic-speaking dwellers of the Alps 
number less than a million. The remainder speak some dialect 
of a quaint old tongue, either Romonsch (the Vorder Rhine 
valley) or Ladin (Engadine, Groden valley, and Friuli). 

2. These remarks as to the numbers of the inhabitants of the 
Alps naturally lead us on to consider the different mother-tongues 
spoken at present by the Alpine folk. Speaking generally, we 
may say that while Alpine Italy is almost wholly Italian-speaking, 
Alpine France speaks only French, and Alpine Bavaria only 
German. But Alpine Switzerland speaks German, French, and 
Italian, as well as the singular Romonsch and Ladin dialects, 
while Alpine Austria, though mainly German-speaking, contains 
also a very fair number of Italian-speaking and Slavonic-speaking 
folk. However, limiting ourselves to the N. slope of the Alps, we 
may say roughly that the Western Alps are mainly French-speak- 
ing, while the Central Alps revel in four or five tongues, as noted 
above, though the Eastern Alps can only boast of German, Italian, 
and Slavonic. Of course, in the Alps, dialects of these tongues 
are mostly spoken, the purer forms being confined to the plains. 

Yet, just as we found that politically Italy, the Swiss Con- 
federation, and Austria owned districts on the S. slope of the 
Alpine chain, so numerous linguistic islets are to be discovered 
in the midst of populations speaking other tongues. 

In order, as it were, to vary a little the dull uniformity of the 
prevalence of Italian only in Italy, there are within the political 


frontiers of that land two regions wherein French is still the 
language of the natives, though the Government ofificials are 
doing all they can to suppress it. The former of these two regions 
takes in several glens W. and S.W. of Turin. The Val Pellice 
and the Val Germanasca have simply kept the French tongue 
which the Vaudois or Waldensians brought with them when they 
migrated thither from Dauphine. Other valleys, such as the 
upper Val Varaita (just S. of the Monte Viso), the Chisone 
valley (above Pinerolo), and the Dora Riparia valley (Cesanne, 
Oulx, Bardonneche, and Exilles, all near the Mont Cenis rail- 
way), still contain a French-speaking population, because for 
many ages they formed part, from the political point of view, of 
Dauphine, and were only gained in 17 13 (as we shall see in the 
next chapter) by the House of Savoy. Even more interesting 
is the case of the valley of Aosta, with its tributary glens. 
Enclosed by the lofty ranges of Mont Blanc, the Mont Velan, 
the Matterhorn, and the Grand Paradis, and reached as easily 
from the French-speaking part of the Vallais over the Great St. 
Bernard Pass, as from the equally French-speaking district of 
the Tarentaise over the Little St. Bernard, one would really be 
astonished if it had not kept its French dialect. For, as E. A. 
Freeman was never tired of urging, this valley is simply a piece 
of Burgundy on the other side of the Alps. Since 575 a.d., 
when it was snatched from the Lombards by the Franks, Aosta 
has, with scarcely a break, always belonged to masters who ruled 
on the other slope of the Alps. Since the House of Savoy 
(which has held it since about 1025) in i860 gave up the cradle 
of its dynasty to France, Aosta is the last fragment that remains 
to it of its former great Burguudian dominions on both sides of 
Alps. Thus all the French-speaking districts in Italy are simply 
relics of former Dauphine or Savoy supremacy on the ' wrong ' 
slope of the Alps. 

More singularly there exist also a few German-speaking villages 
within the boundaries of political Italy. N. of Domo d'Ossola, 
at the Italian foot of the Simplon Pass, there runs up a long, 
narrow valley, like a wedge thrust in between the Vallais (W.) 
and Tessin (E.) — both Swiss. This glen is watered by the 





Toce or Tosa river. Its highest portion bears the special name 
of Val Formazza or Pommat valley, and there is settled (and 
also at the neighbouring villages of Agaro and Salecchio) a 
German-speaking colony, which came from the Vallais in the 
thirteenth century. It still preserves its dialect, and is a curious 
survival. In turn, before 1253 it sent an offshoot E. over the 
mountain ridges to Bosco (Gurin), at the head of one of the side 
glens of the Val Maggia, above Locarno : this odd little settle- 
ment now numbers 266 souls, of whom 260 still speak Vallaisan 
German. We have mentioned above the similar colonies at the 
villages of Simplon and Gondo, a little above Domo, on the 
Simplon road, but these have always remained Swiss, Bosco 
becoming Swiss in 15 12, while the Val Formazza passed to the 
House of Savoy in 1743. Below Domo, in the Tosa valley, is 
Ornavasso (Urnasch), originally a Vallaisan colony, from Naters, 
opposite Brieg, but now quite Italianised. 

More important numerically are another set of Vallaisan 
German-speaking colonies, which occupy the heads of some of 
the Italian valleys S. and E. of the great snowy mass of Monte 
Rosa. Such are the Val de Lys (Gressoney), the Val Sesia 
(Alagna), and the A''al Anzasca (Macugnaga), together with 
the isolated villages of Rima (head of the Val Sermenza) and of 
Rimella (head of the Val Mastallone). The old Gothic four- 
teenth-century church of the parish of Macugnaga is a striking 
relic of this indefatigable colonisation from the Vallais. 

Much farther to the E., on a high mountain shelf, is the 
German-speaking settlement, N. of Vicenza, and N.W. of 
Bassano, known as the Sette Comuni (the seven Communes 
or parishes), viz. Asiago, Rotzo, Roana, GalUo, Foza, Enego, 
and San Giacomo di Lusiana. Of the 25,000 inhabitants com- 
paratively few (save at Rotzo and at Roana) still speak German, 
which is rapidly disappearing, or has already disappeared, in the 
other villages. It is a much-disputed point whether this popula- 
tion represents the remains of an Ostrogothic or an Alamannian 
occupation of the district, or whether the original inhabitants 
were Swabians planted here to guard the Alpine passes ; they 
name their tongue 'Cimbro.' In any case they have no con- 


nection with the Vallais. In the Tredici Comuni (thirteen 
Communes) N. of Verona, the former prevalence of German 
is now said to have completely vanished, as it has in the 
city of Trent itself, the lower portion of which was exclusively 
German as late as 1483 ; so says Felix Faber (Schmid), a Domini- 
can friar from Ulm, in his account of his pilgrimage to the Holy 
Land, while adding that a few years previously the Germans in 
Trent were not many in number. 

The dialect spoken in Friuli is a distant relative of the Ladin 
tongue spoken in the Engadine and the Groden valley, of which 
we shall have something to say presently, and so we have another 
interesting historical anomaly. In this district, too, there are 
several scattered German-speaking villages, viz. those of Sappada 
or Bladen (1322 souls), Sauris or die Zahre (760 souls), and of 
Timau or Tischelwang (1220 souls), the highest village on the 
S. slope of the Plocken Pass. In all three places an antiquated 
Tyrolese-German (in Timau strongly influenced by the Friulan 
dialect, while Sauris has the least impure German) is spoken, 
and as all three are expressly mentioned as existing in the last 
quarter of the thirteenth century, it would seem that they were 
then (if not earlier) occupied by colonies from the Tyrol. 

It is scarcely necessary in the case of the Swiss Confederation 
to do more than state the fact that its Italian-speaking popula- 
tion inhabits the canton of Tessin (Swiss in 1803), together with 
the Grisons valleys of Bregaglia and Poschiavo (Swiss in 1803). 
The dividing line in the Alpine region between the French- 
speaking (W.) and the German-speaking (E.) folk runs S. from 
Fribourg (two-thirds French-speaking) between Charmey (W.) 
and Jaun (E.) in the Jogne valley, then between Chateau d'Oex 
(W.) and Saanen or Gessenay (E.) in the upper Sarine or Saane 
valley, and, after passing between the Ormonts valley (W.) and 
Gsteig or Chatelet in the upperrhost branch of the Saane valley, 
(E.), touches the summit of the Oldenhorn. The line of demar- 
cation then runs E. to near the Wildstrubel, where it again bends 
S. to cut across the Vallais a little E. of Sierre or Siders (that 
town has a very slight majority of French-speaking folk), above 
Sion or Sitten, and then to follow the ridge separating the 


Anniviers or Zinal valley (W.) from that of Turtmann (E.), and 
so along the crests of the Weisshorn (leaving the Zermatt valley 
on the E.) and the Dent Blanche to the Italian frontier, which 
is reached near the Dent d'Herens and the Matterhorn. 

More interesting in Switzerland is the question of the popula- 
tion which speaks either the Romonsch or the Ladin dialects. 
This now numbers 38,651 souls, of which 36,472 reside in the 
Canton of the Grisons. Much nonsense has been written about 
this ancient tongue, which is simply a Romance dialect that has 
not kept pace with its elder sisters, French, Italian, etc. It is 
not improbable that it represents the tongue of emigrants from 
Lombardy pushed up into the mountains by stronger tribes 
behind, and finally passing through the Engadine so as to reach 
the Rhine valley, W. of Coire. The dialect, specially named 
Romonsch, is spoken in the Vorder Rhine valley (or Biindner 
Oberland), which runs from the Oberalp Pass past Disentis and 
Ilanz to Coire : it is itself subdivided into two patois, which 
prevail respectively in the two valleys mentioned as well as in 
the lower reach of the Hinter Rhine valley. The tongue of the 
region above Thusis, which comprises the valleys leading to the 
Albula and Julier Passes respectively, is a transitional one. Once 
across either pass, in the Engadine, or upper valley of the Inn, 
we find that most of that well-known district uses the Ladin 
dialect, which is by far the most living form of this ancient 
tongue. An exception is formed by the Samnaun glen, in the 
Lower Engadine, a valley with 357 inhabitants, which, no doubt 
owing to its easier communications with the Tyrol than with 
Switzerland, now speaks Tyrolese-German, though a hundred 
years ago it was Ladin-speaking, and the place-names are still 
Ladin. It is from the Lower Engadine that the Ladin language 
has penetrated to the upper or Swiss portion of the Miinster 
valley, which sends its waters to the upper Adige. 

In this tolerably extensive Romance-speaking region of Eastern 
Switzerland there are, however, a number of German-speaking 
islets, which are all (save the Samnaun valley, mentioned above) 
in the Romonsch district. The smallest and the most isolated 
is the parish of Obersaxen (521 out of 652 souls), to the S.W. 


of Ilanz, and above the S. bank of the Vorder Rhine. A 
similar colony, which existed from the fourteenth to the sixteenth 
centuries, in the Calfeisen or upper Tamina glen, above Pfafers, has 
left traces of its former existence in many Teutonic place-names. 
The most extensive is that of the Rheinwald, or upper valley 
of the Hinter Rhine (86 1 out of 899 souls), which in turn has 
sent colonies N. over mountain ridges to the Vals (713 out 
of 736 souls) and Safien (558 out of 585 souls) glens, both of 
which are tributaries of the Vorder Rhine. It seems most 
probable that all these inhabitants formed part of one of the 
great thirteenth-century emigrations from the Vallais, and the 
dialect to-day (as the present writer can testify from personal 
experience) certainly resembles that now spoken in the Upper 
Vallais. (Davos, too, was originally a thirteenth-century German- 
speaking colony from the Vallais). 

In fact, all the glens opening S. of the main Vorder Rhine 
valley offer a most remarkable and intricate enlacement in point 
of language as well as in point of religion. Going from W. to 
E. we find that the Medels valley (through which the Middle 
Rhine flows to join the Vorder Rhine, under Disentis) is 
Romonsch-speaking and Romanist, as is the next inhabited 
valley to the E. (for the Somvix glen is uninhabited save in 
summer), Vrin, the S.W. and principal branch of the Lugnetz 
valley which descends to the Vorder Rhine, at Ilanz. But the 
S.E. branch, or Vals glen, of the Lugnetz valley is German- 
speaking and Romanist, while the next glen to the E., that of 
Safien, is also German-speaking, but in religion Protestant. Yet 
in the next valley to the E., that of Domleschg, or the /ower 
Hinter Rhine valley, through which passes the Albula railway 
from Reichenau to Thusis, the confusion is complete, both as 
to language and as to religion, so that one can never be quite 
certain which tongue is spoken or which faith is professed in 
any given village. The middle reach of the Hinter Rhine valley, 
or the valley of Schams, is Romonsch-speaking and Protestant, 
but the upper Hinter Rhine valley, or the Rheinwald, is German- 
speaking and Protestant. Later on (Chapter xiii., Section 13), 
when describing the Albula Group, we shall have occasion to 


speak again about one of the side valleys of the Hinter Rhine, 
that of Avers. The lower half of this valley, or Val Ferrera 
(which is divided from the upper half by a series of fine, rose- 
coloured, marble gorges, now pierced by a good carriage road), 
has 162 inhabitants, out of whom 153 speak Romonsch, and 
161 are Protestants, while in former days this bit belonged to 
that of the Three Rsetian Leagues which was named the Grey 
League. On the other hand, the upper half of the valley, or 
the Avers proper, has 204 inhabitants, out of whom 194 speak 
Vallaisan German, and 198 are Protestants, while in the old 
times it belonged to the League of God's House. There can 
be scarcely another Alpine glen which exhibits such strange 
variations in its political history and language. 

Let us now go on to Austria^ ' where, too, we find both 
Ladin and German islets in the midst of a population of 
another tongue. The Ladin portions (15,828 souls) lie in the 
old bishopric of Brixen, between German-speaking and Lalian- 
speaking districts, and include some of the glens well known 
to wanderers among the Tyrolese Dolomites — those of Groden 
(upper part), Gader, Fassa (the upper Avisio glen), and Ampezzo 
(Cortina), though the two last named are more Italianised than 
the other couple, while Buchenstein, or the upper Cordevole 
valley, above Caprile, is, it is said, still less Ladin. Historical 
students will regret the probable early extinction (save in 
the Engadine and in the Groden and Gader valleys) of this 
quaint Ladin dialect, which deserves to be preserved most 
carefully as a monument historique. It is now generally believed 
that the dialect spoken in Friuli is a kind of Ladin, and not a 
rough Italian patois. 

More curious are, perhaps, the fairly numerous German- 
speaking islets in the parts of the old bishopric of Trent, or 
the Italian-speaking S. Tyrol. To the N. of Trent there are 
a few scattered villages in the Val di Non (Nonsberg), which 
leads up along the Noce towards the Tonale Pass, and so to the 
upper Oglio valley or Val Camonica : these German-speaking 
hamlets, Unsere Hebe Frau im Walde or Senale (309 out of 310 
souls), St. Felix or San Felice (317 out of 337 souls), Laurein or 


Lauregno (513 out of 516 souls), and Proveis or Proves (497 
out of 516 souls), are situated amidst an Italian-speaking folk 
(though not far from the German-speaking populations to the 
N.) and on the most northerly slopes of the Val di Non. 

E. of Trent and N.E. of Pergine (on the Val Sugana railway) 
lies the Fersen or Fersina valley (Val dei Mocheni), in which 
there are a number of German-speaking villages in the midst of 
an Italian-speaking population — Gereut or Frassilongo, Eichleit 
or Roveda, St. Franziskus or San Francesco, St. Felix or San 
Felice, and Palu or Palai — of 181 9 inhabitants 1537 speak 
German, Palu boasting indeed of 423 German-speaking dwellers 
out of a population of 432. The two hamlets bearing saints' 
names had their origin in the twelfth century as a colony of 
miners, but the others are said to be of Lombard or Prankish 
descent. To the S. of the Fersen valley, and so to the S.E. 
of Trent, is the village of Lusarn or Luserna, with 675 German- 
speaking inhabitants out of a total of 699. It is said to be a 
thirteenth century colony established here by the prince-bishop of 
Trent, like its neighbour San Sebastiano, but the latter, a village 
in the parish of Folgareit or Folgaria, seems now officially to 
have only two German-speaking inhabitants, though some un- 
official works put the number at 300. 

Almost all the Slavonic-speaking inhabitants in the Alps proper 
are to be found in the Austrian province of Carniola (a few only 
in Carinthia). Here there were, till recently, several German- 
speaking islands, for instance, Deutschruth and Zarz, both dating 
back to the thirteenth century, but it is said that now they have 
been all but completely Slavonicised, though the older inhabitants 
of some villages E. of Zarz still speak German. The chief 
German-speaking settlement in Carniola, Gottschee, lies outside 
the limits of the Alps. 

3. We have now studied the Alpine folk so far as regards 
their political situation and the mother-tongues which they 
speak. Something must now be said as to their religion. 

It need hardly be said that before the Reformation of the 


sixteenth century they were all Romanists, with one small 
exception, the Vaudois or Waldensians, who lay claim to have 
been 'Reformers before the Reformation.' These, however, 
were not very numerous, and were confined to some Alpine glens 
in the upper Durance valley, in Dauphine, on the French side of 
the Alps, as well as to certain others, on the E. or Piedmontese 
slope, such as the Val Pellice and the Val Germanasca, both 
S.W. of Turin. 

After the Reformation the Waldensians were still the only 
Protestants in the French and Italian Alps, and, having 
practically become Calvinists of the Geneva type, are true 
' Protestants.' On the French slope of the Alps there were, 
till recently, small congregations in the Freissinieres glen of 
the upper Durance valley, and in the Arvieux branch of the 
Guil glen, a tributary of the upper Durance valley : this region 
was known as the ' Pays de Neff,' from Felix Neff, a young 
Genevese Protestant pastor who devoted part of his short life 
(1798-1829) to working (1823-9) among its inhabitants. On 
the Italian slope the number of the Waldensians does not now 
exceed 13,000. They are confined to the Val Pellice and its 
side glens of Angrogna and Rora, and to the part of the Val 
Germanasca above Perrero, where it splits into the glens of 
Prali, of Rodoretto, and of Massel. But the rest of the French 
Alps, as also those of Austria and Bavaria, is inhabited by a 
Romanist population. As regards Switzerland, most of that part 
of its territory (whatever language its dwellers speak) which 
lies on the S. slope of the Alps is occupied by an exclusively 
Romanist population, so the villages of Simpeln and Gondo, 
practically the whole Canton of Tessin, and the Grisons valleys 
of Mesocco and Calanca, while in Poschiavo the Protestants 
number about one-fifth of the population, though in the 
Miinster valley they form nearly half (681 to 1505). The Val 
Bregaglia, however, is five-sixths Protestant. When we look 
at the N. side of the Swiss Alps, we notice at once that of the 
three great valleys which are carved out at the base of that 
slope, two are all but exclusively Romanist, those of the upper 
Rhone or the Vallais, and of the upper Vorder Rhine or the 


Biindner Oberland (the lower valley is three-fourths Romanist), 

while in the third, the upper Inn valley or Engadine, only rather 

more than one-third are of that faith, Tarasp (long a Habsburg 

possession) and the Samnaun glen being the only predominantly 

Romanist spots. We noticed above the curious interlacing of 

religion and language as to the main valley of the Hinter Rhine. 

The Romanists number three-fourths of the population in the 

valleys above Thusis, leading to the Albula and the Julier 

Passes, while they are, of course, predominant in 'Primitive 

Switzerland,' or the Cantons of Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, and 

Lucerne, though holding only one-fourth of the folk of Glarus. On 

the other hand, the Protestants are vastly superior in numbers in 

the valleys N. of the great snowy chain of the Bernese Oberland, 

and claim the allegiance of three-fourths of the population in 

the valleys round Davos. In the older books of travel one 

used to read of the superiority in many points of the Protestant 

mountain Cantons over those which have clung to the older 

faith. But, if we put aside the Canton of Tessin, which is really 

a bit of Italy that belongs to Switzerland for purely historical 

reasons, a careful study will show that so far as regards 

natural advantages of soil, etc., the Romanist part of the region 

is far less favoured than is the Protestant portion. Compare, 

for instance, the swampy and barren Vallais, and the deep-cut 

upper Biindner Oberland, or the narrow trench of Uri, with 

the smiling valleys of the Bernese Oberland. The difference 

in prosperity is far from being wholly due to differences of 


This seems to be the proper place wherein to insert a few 
remarks as to the very important part played by the Church not 
merely in the conversion, but in the civilising, of the Alpine 
lands. This was not merely because some of the principal 
bishops (such as Embrun, Tarentaise, Sion, Coire, Lausanne, 
Trent, Brixen, Salzburg) in these regions possessed secular as 
well as spiritual powers. That union of jurisdictions in the 
hands of one and the same lord often did not produce good 
results, save on special occasions. We refer rather to the 
work of the great monasteries, whose serfs, as in England, 


occupied a privileged position by comparison with those of 
temporal lords, and who were able to secure some continuity 
in the maintaining of the improvements they had carried out 
in matters agrarian as well as educational and social. Such are 
the ancient Benedictine houses of Novalesa (above Susa and on 
the S. slope of the Mont Cenis), St Michel de la Cluse (between 
Susa and Turin) — the mother house of Chamonix, the most 
Alpine of all monasteries — Disentis (founded by a disciple of 
Columban) in the Vorder Rhine valley, Miinster, above the 
upper Adige valley, St. Gall, Einsiedeln, Engelberg, Pfafers ; or 
the Austin Canons of St. Maurice, in the Vallais, and of Inter- 
laken, in the Bernese Oberland, or the Cistercians of Abondance, 
S. of the Lake of Geneva. Nor should we forget the secular 
canons of Lucerne (the house was Benedictine from its founda- 
tion in the eighth century till 1455), or the powerful Tyrolese 
houses of Marienberg (Benedictine), at the head of the upper 
valley of the Adige or Vintschgau, and of Wilten (Premonstra- 
tensian Canons Regular), close to Innsbruck, and of Innichen 
(first Benedictine, from the twelfth century secular canons), at the 
head- waters of the Drave, and formerly an outpost of Christianity 
towards the heathen Slaves, or the Styrian house of Admont 
(Benedictine) in the Enns valley. Some of these religious houses 
have done their appointed work, while others still continue their 
labours, though in a more limited sphere than of old. But all 
must rejoice that the Austin Canons still ofifer shelter to passers- 
by, whether workmen or travellers for pleasure, on the Great 
St. Bernard, and the Simplon. Formerly they served also 
the Little St. Bernard, where, since about 1750, the Hospice is 
under the control of the military and religious knightly order of 
SS. JSIaurice and Lazarus. The Capuchins were in charge of 
the Hospice on the St. Gotthard during the eighteenth century. 

In terminating this sketch of some of the main general 
characteristics of the Alpine folk let us mention as a curiosity 
the fact that the highest permanently inhabited village in the 
Alps, as well as in Switzerland, is Juf(6998 ft.), in the Avers 
valley (Grisons), not very far from the Maloja Pass. The 
highest village in Italy is Trepalle (6788 ft.), between Livigno 


and Bormio, near the head of the Valtelline; the highest in 
the French Alps is L'Ecot (6713 ft.), at the very head of the 
Arc valley or Maurienne, in Savoy, or perhaps that of St. Veran, 
W. of Monte Viso, in a side glen of the Guil, a tributary of the 
upper Durance valley, of which the highest houses are at a 
height of 6726 ft., though the rest of the hamlet is lower; while 
the highest in Austria or the Tyrol is Ober Gurgl (6322 ft.) in 
the Oetzthal district, the neighbouring hamlet of Vent or Fend 
being 62 11 ft. 




THE political history of the Alps properly takes its start, as 
we indicated in the preceding chapter, with the establish- 
ment of political relations between the Romans and the Alpine 
folk. But these relations were terribly one-sided, for they 
consisted in the more or less complete subjugation of the 
Alpine tribes to the hard yoke of the Romans. If it was not 
in every case compulsory annexation, it certainly amounted, on 
the part of the peoples of the Alps, to the abandonment of 
their former freedom and isolation in favour of the encroaching 
Romans. Looked at from the point of view of the dwellers 
among the fastnesses of the Alps, the Roman rule, at any rate in 
some cases, pressed hardly only from time to time, when an 
attempt was made to get rid of even a nominal subjection. In 
the eyes of the Romans, however, such risings were simply the 
restless strivings of barbarians, who, if suffered to stretch their 
chain of captivity to its full extent, were yet not allowed to 
overpass certain strictly defined limits on pain of severe chastise- 
ment. The Romans, not unnaturally, entertained a strong 
objection to running the risk of having their delicate and 
refined civilisation injured or threatened by the rude onslaughts 
of these wild men of the hills. Yet the latter had generally 
undergone very hard experiences, and did not appreciate the 
part assigned to them of supplying the wants of their conquerors, 
while they themselves were kept at a respectful distance, if 
need were, by force of arms. Probably, as in the case of any 
contact between civilised and uncivilised nations, both sides 
suffered many disagreeables. But it must always be remembered 



that, most unfortunately, we have only accounts of the con- 
flict written by the conquerors, who, naturally, bring into 
prominence their own brave deeds rather than those of their 
dreaded foes. Of course, it must have been very unpleasant 
for the Romans to have before their eyes the fear of a possible 
invasion of their fair domains in sunny Italy by the Alpine 
tribes, speaking a totally different tongue, fascinated by the 
sight of the good things denied them, and eager to grasp what 
they could at the point of the spear. 

But the Alpine folk were numerous and full of a daring 
courage, which can only be explained by ignorance of the power 
of their future conquerors. It was in the time of the Republic 
that the Gauls in what is now Lombardy and Venetia were 
overcome. But the conquest of the tribes on the N. slope of 
the Alps was a very long and wearisome process. Speaking 
very roughly, these people were reduced to the position of 
Roman allies, or subjects, in the period that extends from 
B.C. 25 to B.C. 8 or 6. In the former of the two last-named 
years the Arch of Triumph at Susa was set up, with the names 
(still plainly visible) of fourteen conquered Alpine tribes, while 
at the second date given there was erected at Turbie, above 
the blue waters of the Mediterranean, a Tower, now in ruins, 
though the names of the forty-five Alpine tribes thereon inscribed 
have been luckily preserved to us by Pliny. Oddly enough, how- 
ever, but six names are common to the two inscriptions. Matters 
could now be better organised, and a ring of provinces was formed 
on the N. slope of the Alps to act as a sort of cushion, whereon 
the attacks of the wilder warriors might be made without any 
damage save to themselves. The danger to the Romans was 
thus pushed farther away, behind the lofty chain of the 
Alps, which, so they hoped, would have formed an impassable 
barrier. Now, the Romans of the Empire might go safely 
to sleep, and care not which general assumed the imperial 

It is hard to fix the exact limits of the Roman dominion in 
the Alps, though we may safely assert that under Augustus (died 
A.D. 14) the whole of both slopes of the Alps, Western, Central, 


and Eastern, were in the hands of the Emperor, directly or 

But as the central power grew weaker and weaker so did its 
hold on the distant provinces across the Alps relax slowly and 
surely, while, in their turn, some of the later Emperors ruled 
in the provinces apart from Rome. New hordes of bar- 
barians appeared on the scene. Rome was sacked successively 
by Visigoths under Alaric (a.d. 410) and by Vandals under 
Geiseric (455). The division of the Empire in 395 was 
followed in 476 by its nominal reunion, with Odoacer as 
imperial viceroy in Italy. But his rule broke down in 493 
before the invasion (489) of the Ostrogoths under Theo- 
doric, though barely seventy years later these had to make way 
for the Lombards (568). Meanwhile, on the other side of the 
Alps the tribes brought into subjection partly recovered their 
liberty of action, being no longer controlled by a strong arm 
stretched over them from Rome, while in part they were pushed 
on by the ever-advancing masses of hitherto dimly heard-of 
barbarians. Thus the old provincial system was replaced by 
the rule of a set of vigorous tribes which pressed into the glens 
on the N. slope of the Alpine chain, and were ready enough, 
had fortune favoured them, to imitate the example of their 
luckier comrades who had actually entered Italy and gained 
the coveted prize, So we find that while the Burgundians 
hovered over the western portion of the Alps, the Alamanni 
held the central bit of the chain, and the Baioarii occupied the 
eastern third — of course, all these tribes keeping on the N. 

All were, however, to give way and bow their necks to the 
rule of a distant yet increasingly powerful folk, the Franks, who 
slowly but steadily made their way towards the Alps and so 
to Italy and Rome. Hardly had Clovis, the founder of the 
Merwing dynasty, put the final stroke (486) to the last surviving 
fragment of Roman rule, under Syagrius, in north-western Gaul, 
than he put the Alamanni to rout (496). This crowning victory 
(for the conversion of the Franks to orthodox Christianity 
soonjj after secured their ultimate supremacy) was followed 


up by his successors, who in 532 overcame the Burgundians, 
and in 536 obtained from the Alamanni their last stronghold 
in Rsetia, as well as from the Ostrogoths their possessions in 
Provence. In 575, let us not forget the event, the Franks 
wrested the valley of Aosta (as well as Susa) from the Lombards, 
and henceforth this valley, though lying S. of the Alps, followed, 
with very slight breaks, the fortunes of masters who ruled on the 
N. slope of the great chain. 

But the fresh vigour of the Merwings soon died away, so that 
they did not themselves pluck the coveted fruit from the trees, 
simply preparing the way for the mightier Carolingians (751). 
Pippin, the founder of that dynasty, found enough to occupy 
his attention in Aquitania and towards the Pyrenees. It was 
his son, Charles the Great, who during his glorious reign {768- 
814) not merely carried out his father's schemes, but added 
to them in a fashion that would probably have startled Pippin. 
His conquest of the Lombards (774), after forcing his way over 
the Alps, meant not merely supremacy in Italy, but, what to 
us here is even more important, the possession of the entire 
S. slope of the Alps. He already held on the N. slope the W. 
or Burgundian, as well as the Central or Alamannian heritage. 
Hence, when in 788 he added the lands of the Baioarii to his 
own realm, and this meant the annexation of what represents 
modern Tyrol and Carinthia, Charles thus obtained the one 
bit of the N. slope of the Alps lacking to him. Once more 
the whole of the Alpine chain was under the rule of a 
single monarch, and therefore the historian of the Alps has a 
special feeling of joy when he recalls the coronation of Charles 
the Great at Rome on Christmas Day, 800, as the second 
Augustus, and Emperor of the Romans. Never again was the 
whole of the great mountain chain of which w^e are studying the 
history to be held by one and the same man. But, as we 
shall see, it was the third member of the great triumvirate that 
at long intervals have moulded the history of Europe more 
than any other human beings, even Napoleon himself, who 
came very near success in his attempt to rival, or surpass, the 
deeds of his two great predecessors. 


The successor of Charles the Great was his son Louis the 
Pious, but he had hardly assumed the burden of Empire 
(crowned at Rome in 810) when he began to partition it among 
his sons (817). It was only, however, after his death (840) that 
a partition was definitively made by the famous Treaty of Verdun 
(843), which, roughly speaking, laid the foundations of modern 
Europe. We need not trouble ourselves here with the share 
of the youngest brother, Charles the Bald, as it did not touch 
any part of the Alpine chain ; the frontier of his kingdom, which 
nearly represented the France of later times, was drawn to the 
W. of the Rhone and the Saone. The second brother, Louis 
the Germanic, obtained what may be called an elementary form 
of later Germany, so that his domains took in that part of modern 
Switzerland which is E. of the Aar, as well as Tyrol, Carinthia, 
and Carniola. In short, he held the whole of the German- 
speaking portion of the Alps. The eldest brother, Lothair, took 
the title of Emperor (together with Italy, thus ruling over 
the S. slope of the Alps), and also a long strip of territory which 
stretched from the mouth of the Rhine to that of the Rhone, this 
great Middle Kingdom being named by the chroniclers the 
' regnum Lotharii ' (the ' kingdom of Lothair '), or ' Lotharingia.' 
Here we have no concern with the more northerly half, a bit of 
which later monopolised the name of Lorraine. Our interest 
is limited to the southern half, which took in what is now W. 
Switzerland, Savoy, Dauphine, and Provence, the whole forming 
a Romance-speaking region as contrasted with the German- 
speaking Alpine dominions of Louis the Germanic. On Lothair 
i.'s death (855) this S'. half was given over to his youngest 
son, Charles, the N. half going to his second son, Lothair 11., 
while Louis, the eldest of the three brothers, became 
Emperor and ruler of Italy. But on Charles's death (863) that 
part of his heritage which lay to the E. of the Rhone wxnt to 
his eldest brother, Louis, and was held together with Italy, 
while after Lothair 11. 's death (869) the N. half went to Louis 
the Germanic. Henceforward the history of these two halves of 
Lotharingia, or the Middle Kingdom (which thus existed only 
from 843 to 855), is wholly distinct. When Lothair i.'s line 


became extinct in 875, on the death of Louis, its domains (with 
the imperial dignity and Italy) passed to Charles the Bald, who 
ruled over them as w^ell as over his original share (roughly 
speaking, later France). 

Two events, not far removed in point of time, the deaths of 
Charles the Bald (877) and that of Charles the Fat (888— he 
held the German-speaking portion of the Alps, as well as Italy), 
finally broke up the huge Empire of Charles the Great into four 
great fragments, of which three only (we exclude the West 
Frankish kingdom, which did not touch the Alps) concern us 
in this sketch of the history of the Alps. Germany (or the 
Eastern Frankish kingdom) henceforward had a separate life of its 
own, though soon, in its Alpine portions, a crowd of great feudal 
nobles secured all practical power. Italy passed through the hands 
of a rapid succession of rulers, till there too many feudal lords 
each secured to himself a portion of the realm. Finally the S. 
half of the Middle Kingdom broke up into two portions. In 
879 Count Boso of Vienne was chosen king by his fellow-nobles, 
his rule extending over all what is now modern Savoy (save that 
bit which lies S. of the Lake of Geneva and N. of the 
upper Isere valley or the Tarentaise), Dauphine, and Provence. 
This kingdom is sometimes called 'Cisjurane Burgundy,' but 
it took in no part of the Jura, and is more accurately named the 
'kingdom of Provence' : it lasted only till about 933, when its 
then ruler, Count Hugh of Aries, king of Italy, made it over to 
the king of the more northerly half of ' Burgundy.' The last- 
named kingdom took its origin in 888, after the death of 
Charles the Fat, the first king being Rudolf, a Burgundian 
count. This more northerly kingdom (which is generally named 
' Transjurane Burgundy ') comprised all W. Switzerland, with 
that part of Savoy between the Lake of Geneva and the upper 
valley of the Isere and the valley of Aosta (held 880-888 by 
Boso). Its second king, Rudolf 11,, it was who got from Count 
Hugh the kingdom of Provence at the nominal price of the 
crown of Italy. Thus about 933 the two Burgundian kingdoms 
were reunited after having been divided since 879. This united 
kingdom (which included the whole of the N. slope of the 


Western Alps, save the Vallais, but with the addition of the 
valley of Aosta on the S. slope) lasted till 1032, when, by a 
treaty made, in 1027, with the last king, Rudolf in. (died 1032), 
it passed to Conrad 11., the Emperor and German king who was 
crowned in 1033 at Payerne. It is, however, only early in the 
thirteenth century that this kingdom of Burgundy officially takes 
the name, by which it is usually known, of the kingdom of 
Aries. It practically came to an end in 1378, when the Emperor 
Charles iv. (who had been crowned king of Aries at Aries in 
1365) conferred the office of 'Imperial Vicar' within the whole 
of the kingdom of Aries on the young Dauphin, eldest son of 
Charles v., king of France. In 1193 the Emperor Henry vi. 
(who had no real authority over it) conferred on Richard i. of 
England (in return for his homage for England) the kingdom of 
Provence 'up to the Alps,' though this gift remained a mere 
donation on paper, meant to secure Richard to the service of 
the Emperor. 

But the event of 1378, simply marked a fait accompli. Long 
before many feudal lords had practically got to themselves 
all real power in all parts of the Alpine region. Hence, if the 
date 888 marks the beginning of the modern states and divisions 
of Europe, in the Alpine regions the eleventh and twelfth 
centuries are far more important. It is at that time that there 
emerge gradually from the crowd of those who were struggling 
for power in that region the three famiUes which were ultimately 
to prevail. It is thus best for us to bring this general sketch 
of the political history of the Alps to an end about 1033. 
Henceforward it will be clearer to trace out the separate political 
history of the three great divisions of the Alps. In the Western 
Alps the long struggle between the Counts of Savoy, of Albon 
(later Dauphins of the Viennois), and of Provence ended in the 
supremacy of France on the W. slope and of Savoy on the 
E. slope. In the Central Alps (which for our purposes include 
the Upper Vallais) the struggle lay between the elements of the 
future Swiss Confederation and the holder for the time of the 
Milanese. Finally, in the Eastern Alps we have to trace out 
the gradual absorption of many minor states and principalities 



by the powerful House of Habsburg. Thus, roughly speaking, 
France, the Swiss Confederation, and Austria struggled for long 
with the successive owners of Northern Italy. That struggle 
ended, at least for the present, in 1859-1866; in i860 the House 
of Savoy gave up Nice and Savoy (its last possessions on the 
W. slope) to France, while in 1859 and 1866 the dynasty of 
Savoy, now aiming at ruling United Italy, obtained respectively 
Lombardy and Venetia. Thus, nowadays, France, the Swiss 
Confederation, and Austria share the W. or N. slope of the 
Alps (Bavaria holds but a very small bit), while Italy rules the 
whole of the S. slope, save in the case of certain small 
districts mentioned in the preceding chapter. 

But before entering upon the special political history of each 
of the three main divisions of the Alps we must make some 
mention of two great facts, each of which concerns the history of 
the Alpine chain as a whole — the tenth century incursions of the 
Saracens of La Garde Freinet, and the rule (181 0-15) of Napoleon. 

In 887 or 888, just as the Empire of Charles the Great was 
breaking up, some shipwrecked Spanish Saracen pirates settled 
themselves in an eagle's nest, at La Garde Freinet, built on the 
ridge of the thickly wooded Montagnes des Maures, above and to 
the S.W. of Frejus, on the coast of Provence. That spot remained 
their headquarters till, in 975, Count William of Provence and 
Ardoin, Marquess of Turin, extirpated these pests. But in the 
course of those ninety years these Saracens did a vast deal of 
harm in many parts of the Alps, and immensely increased the 
anarchy which there prevailed after the break-up of the 
Carolingian Empire. About 906 they crossed the Col de 
Tenda and sacked the monastery of Pedona, at the modern 
Borgo San Dalmazzo, near Cuneo, while very soon after they 
pushed again across the Alps, probably by the Mont Cenis, and 
destroyed the great abbey of Novalesa, in the Dora Riparia 
valley, W. of Turin. In 916 they sacked Embrun, and its 
neighbourhood in the upper Durance valley. Holding thus the 
two great passes of the Western Alps, the Mont Genevre and 


the Mont Cenis, they established a reign of terror in that part 
of the Alps. In 921 and again in 923 we are expressly told 
that they massacred bands of peaceful English pilgrims on their 
way to Rome. In 929 we hear that they held the passes of 
the Alps, while in 936 they ravaged the diocese of Coire in 
Rjetia. In 940 they burnt and sacked the great abbey of St. 
Maurice in the Vallais, and in 942 made a treaty with Hugh, 
king of Italy, by which they were formally given possession of all 
the Alps (and hence of the passes over them) between Germany 
and Italy. Grenoble and its neighbourhood had been occupied 
already a long time in 954, in which year too they attacked 
certain Alpine pastures belonging to the monastery of St. Gall, 
while in 956 the Emperor Otto i. applied for help against them 
to the Caliph of Cordova. In fact, it was felt that some serious 
attempt must be made to put a stop to the depredations of these 
robbers. The climax came when in 973 Majolus, the abbat of 
Cluny, was captured by them at Orsieres, on his way from 
Rome over the Great St. Bernard. Detailed accounts of his 
sufferings have been preserved to us, and he was only liberated 
by the payment of a huge ransom that his monks had great 
trouble in collecting. Hence in 975 the two nobles of whom 
we have made mention above took La Garde Freinet by storm, 
and put every man to the sword. In the fifteenth century 
breviary of the church of Gap grateful mention is made of this 
glorious feat of arms, in commemoration of which Count William 
gave half the town of Gap to God and Our Lady. 

To us here these Saracen inroads are important because two 
of the chief dynasties in the Western Alps (the Counts of Albon, 
later the Dauphins of the Viennois, and the Counts of Provence) 
came into prominence through the part they took in repelling 
these bandits. 

Nor were these Saracens the only bandits who made the Alps 
unsafe in the tenth century, for we often hear of incursions by 
parties of Magyars or Hungarians, in particular of a violent 
attack on the monastery of St. Gall in 926, and of another raid 
across the Alps in 954. 

The second point relating to the Alps as a whole which may 


best find a place here, before we enter on the special consideration 
of the various divisions of the great chain, is the way in which 
Napoleon very nearly rivalled Charles the Great in his political 
domination of the Alpine region. It is no doubt true that the 
mediaeval Emperors, after the kingdom of Burgundy fell back to 
them in 1032, till the rise of the Swiss Confederation, and of 
that of the House of Savoy, as well as till the steady eastward 
progress of the French kingdom, exercised a more or less 
shadowy suzerainty, rather than sovereignty, over the whole 
Alpine region. But Napoleon's rule from about iSioto 1814 
was far more real, though it did not take in quite all the part of 
Europe which interests us. As Emperor of the French (since 
1804) he held as heir of the Republic or as conqueror 
(besides Dauphine and Provence) Savoy and the county of 
Nice (acquired 1792), Geneva and its neighbourhood (1798), 
Piedmont (1802), Liguria (1805), and the lUyrian Provinces, 
i.e. part of Carinthia and all Carniola (1809), and the Vallais 
(annexed in 18 10). As king of Italy (1805) he ruled over 
Lombardy, besides the Valtelline and the county of Bormio 
(1797), and Venetia (got in two bits, in 1797 and in 1805), as 
well as the Italian-speaking part of the Tyrol (got in 1809 from 
Bavaria). As a powerful and well-nigh irresistible ' friend ' he 
controlled the Swiss Confederation since the Act of Mediation 
(1803), while by means of the Confederation of the Rhine (1806) 
he was master of the Vorarlberg, Salzburg, and the German- 
speaking part of the Tyrol, through Bavaria, to which these 
districts had been made over in 1809. It would thus appear 
that the only Alpine countries which Napoleon did not at that time 
or ever reign over were Styria and a part of Carinthia, which re- 
mained in the hands of Austria. As regards those relatively 
small portions of the Alps, Napoleon's dominions were smaller 
than those of Charles the Great or of the Romans. But most 
probably his rule was far more effective than that of his pre- 
decessors in rougher and less civilised ages. History often 
repeats itself, but it may be doubted whether this adage will 
hold true of the rule of a single state or man over the entire 
chain of the Alps, But what an ideal and much-to-be-envied 


position it would be, to have in one's own hands all the keys 
which opened the way to Italy ! It would be sufficient to turn 
the head of the most prudent ruler of the sedatest of states. 

(From the Col de Tenda to the Simplon) 

The struggle in this portion of the Alps lay ultimately be- 
tween France on the one side, and the House of Savoy on the 
other. But it was only at a comparatively late date that these 
two foes stood face to face, for their career in each case had 
started from small beginnings, and meant the absorption of many 
smaller rulers. 

It was in the eleventh century, just about the time when the 
kingdom of Burgundy was ending (1032) as a separate state, that 
three feudal families (Savoy, Dauphine, and Provence) among 
those which held sway in the region between the Rhone (below 
Lyons) and the Alps emerged from the ruck, and stood forth 
to do battle for supremacy in that part of the Alpine region. 
They all rose on the ruins of the kingdom of Burgundy. 

(i) The first is that of the future House of Savoy. In 1025 
Humbert with the White Hands is mentioned as Count of Aosta, 
and in 1036 as Count of the Maurienne (or the valley of the Arc, 
leading to the Mont Cenis), while in 1034 he perhaps received 
the Chablais from Conrad 11., whom he had helped to secure the 
crown of Burgundy. His son acquired by marriage {c. 1046) the 
marquessate of Turin, thus firmly planting his house on the 
other side of the Alps. The district originally bearing the title- 
name of Savoy (that between Aix les Bains, Chambery, and 
Montmelian) was inherited from a cadet branch about 1050, 
while about 1082 the Archbishop of the Tarentaise (or the upper 
valley of the Isere), who in 996 had received from the last king 


of Transjurane Burgundy the temporal jurisdiction of that region, 
became a vassal of the rapidly rising House of Savoy. Further, 
through the position of the head of the family as protector of the 
great abbey of St. Maurice, it practically ruled the Lower Vallais, 
though the Bishop of Sion retained the temporal jurisdiction which 
he had received in 999 from the last of the kings of Transjurane 
Burgundy. In short, this house had to all intents and purposes 
inherited the domains of Rudolf iii. of Transjurane Burgundy, 
so far as regards the central portion of his kingdom. Hence in 
1 1 25 we find its head assuming the title of 'Count of Savoy' in 
the foundation charter of the abbey of Hautecombe, the future 
burying-place of his race. In the thirteenth century the family 
whose rise we are tracing acquired (12 16) the overlordship of 
Saluzzo (including the upper Po and Varaita valleys), purchased 
its long-time capital Chambery (1232) from its local lord, con- 
quered (1240- 1 268) a great part of the district of Vaud and the 
Lower Vallais, and obtained (1243-6) from the abbat of Pinerolo 
that town with the Chisone valley. The erection of Aosta and 
the Chablais (just S. of the Lake of Geneva) into a duchy (1238), 
and the elevation of the head of the house to the dignity of 
Prince of the Empire (13 10), mark the further advance of the 
House of Savoy, which in 131 3 got hold of Ivrea, the link 
between its ancient possessions of Aosta and of Turin, as well 
as in 1 3 13 of the Canavese or the upper Oreo valley. Finally, 
in 1356, Amadeus, the ' Green Count,' was made by the Emperor 
Charles iv. his Vicar or representative within the domains of 
the House of Savoy, which thus, for all practical purposes, 
became independent of the Empire. 

2. Let us turn now to the second of the three great feudal 
families we mentioned above, that of the Dmiphins of the 
VieiiJiois. It is about 1034 that we first hear of a Count of 
Albon (between Vienna and Valence, in the valley of the 
Rhone). This dynasty seems to have come to the front and 
established its power by virtue of the active part it played in re- 
pelling the invasions of the Saracens in the tenth century, several 














of its members earlier than Count Guy having been bishops 
of Grenoble. Its original domains lay in the Graisivaudan 
valley (that is the bit of the Isere valley between Montmelian and 
Grenoble) and in the Champsaur (the upper Drac valley). But 
as early as 1053 it had extended its rule to the Brian^onnais, 
at the head- waters of the Durance. This region (which takes 
its name from the little Roman town of Briangon) included, 
however, much more than the upper Durance valley, and its 
side glens, those of the Clairee, the Guisane, the Vallouise, 
and the Queyras (or the Guil valley). From Briangon the 
pass of the Mont Genevre, one of the great historical passes of 
the Alps, leads over to the valley of the Dora Riparia (Cesanne, 
Oulx, Bardonneche, near the Mont Cenis Tunnel, Exilles, 
Salbertrand); while from Cesanne at its E. foot the Col de 
Sestrieres gives access past Pragelas and Fenestrelles to Pinerolo 
by the Chisone valley, of which the upper portion (above Perosa) 
belonged to the Briangonnais : further, from the head of the Guil 
valley several passes (e.g. the Col de I'Agnel and the Col de 
Vallante) lead over to the head of the Varaita valley (just S. 
of Monte Viso) wherein are Chateau Dauphin, Castelponte, 
and Bellino, all likewise included in the Briangonnais. These 
minute topographical details may be pardoned because they 
will enable us better to understand the part played by the 
Dauphine in the great struggle for the Western Alps. Thus 
the future Dauphins (this name will be explained below) 
had many of the passes, E. slope as well as W. slope, over the 
Alps, in their own hands. Hence the rulers of the Briangonnais 
held wide dominions on the other side of the Alps, just like 
their neighbours of Savoy, who reigned immediately to the N., 
so that the two houses were bound sooner or later to come into 
conflict. Before that time arrived, however, the Dauphins had 
acquired much territory at the expense of their neighbours (the 
heirs of the Counts of Forcalquier) on the S., the Counts of 
Provence, of whom we shall speak presently. 

In 1232 the Dauphins acquired by purchase (as the ultimate 
result of a lucky marriage with the heiress in 1202) the 
Embrunais (or middle reach of the upper Durance valley, and 


so just S. of the Briangonnais) and the Gapengais (between the 
Durance and the Drac valleys). This extensive addition (con- 
firmed by the Emperor Frederick ii. in 1 247) enabled the Dauphins 
to join, as it were, their domains in the Champsaur and around 
Grenoble with those in the Brianconnais, the great snow-clad mass 
of the Pelvoux rising between these hitherto isolated possessions. 
The heir and successor of the Dauphin who made this lucky 
purchase himself added to the family estates by marrying (1241) 
the heiress (1268) of the Faucigny (the Arve valley, wherein is 
Chamonix), but, as we shall see later, this lordship was lost 
to the House of Savoy in 1355. Of the other transfers from 
Provence to Dauphine (the process went on till 1503) we need 
only mention the annexation, in 1424, in virtue of the will of 
the last count (d. 1419), of the counties of Die and Valence. 
But by that time the Dauphine had ceased to be an indepen- 
dent state, for, as is well known, it was sold by Humbert, the 
last Dauphin, in 1349, to Charles (later Charles v.), grandson 
of the king of France. Thus France for the first time touched 
the Alps. In 1378, as we noted towards the beginning of this 
chapter, the Emperor Charles iv. named the then holder of 
the Dauphine (the eldest son of King Charles v.) Imperial 
Vicar wnthin the Dauphine and Provence, thus practically 
putting an end to the Imperial supremacy in these regions. 

Here we may intercalate a few remarks about the origin of 
the title ' Dauphin ' as there has been much confusion on the 
subject. The name ' Delphinus ' (borne as a Christian name 
by a fourth century Bishop of Bordeaux, by a seventh century 
Bishop of Lyons, and with a feminine termination, by a four- 
teenth century female saint) appears first in mo as a sort 
of second Christian name of Guy iv., both during the lifetime 
of his father and afterwards, and then in 1151 of his son and 
successor also. The latter's heiress, Beatrice (d. 1228 — she was 
the last of the first race), gave (1193) to her son Andrew 
(d. 1237) the second name of ' Delphinus,' in order to show his 
descent. His son, Guy vi. (d. 1270), also bears (1238) this 
second name (though generally in the genitive case), which at 
home is treated as a patronymic, though abroad it is tending 


to be considered a title. The same is the case under Guy's 
son, John, whose proper title is always ' Count of Vienne and 
Albon.' But with John the second race ended, and on his 
death (1282) his realms passed to his sister, Anne, who had 
married Humbert, lord of La Tour du Pin. Humbert it was 
who finally adopted ' Delphinus ' as a title, even in the very 
year of his accession, and soon the change is complete. In 
1284 his wife is called 'Delphina' and in 1285 his realms 
' Delphinatus.' It should be noticed, however, that Humbert 
generally adds to the title 'Dauphin' the words 'Comte de 
Vienne et d'Albon,' only rarely using the form 'Delphinus 
Viennensis.' In any case ' Dauphin ' is a title, and so, if we 
wish to be accurate, we should speak of the ' Dauphins of the 
Viennois,' as long as they continued to be an independent 
dynasty {i.e. till 1349). In the closely related family of the 
Counts of Auvergne the name ' Dauphin ' has a similar history, 
the <dates being remarkably parallel. In 11 96 it is a Christian 
name, about 1250 a patronymic, and in 1281 a title. This 
house, too, is properly named ' Dauphins of Auvergne ' till its 
extinction in the seventeenth century. It is quite certain that 
the name or title of ' Dauphin ' was not borrowed from the 
arms borne by these families, for oddly enough it was probably 
in the first years of the thirteenth century that the three houses 
(all kinsmen) of Dauphine, Auvergne, and Forez (the last named 
never bore the title of ' Dauphin,' but that of Count) altered 
their former arms, and placed on them the dolphin, which thus 
may be regarded as a case of ' canting arms.' 

3. Like their neighbours, the Counts of Albon, the Counts of 
Provence seem to have established their power after the defeat in 
975 of the Saracens by Count William. That event, at any rate, 
vastly increased their authority, for the first count we hear of, 
Boso, William's father, was simply the Count of Aries. Later they 
sometimes name themselves ' Marquises ' of Provence, as that 
was a border or ' march ' land towards Italy. To us this dynasty 
is important only as regards the Alpine lands it held. We have 


seen above that in 1232 it finally lost the Embrunais and the 
Gapengais, which it had obtained about 1208 when it became 
heir to the Counts of Forcalquier (a small town above the right 
bank of the lower course of the Durance). The next count, 
Raymond Berengar iv., rebuilt (1231) the little town of Bar- 
celonnette in the Ubaye valley, giving it that name because 
the elder branch of his house held (with the crown of Aragon) 
the county of Barcelona. The marriage (1246) of his daughter 
and heiress, Beatrice, to Charles of Anjou, brother of St. Louis, 
brought Provence into close connection with the kingdom of 
France, to which it was finally annexed in 1481 by the testament 
of the last count. But before that date the county had been 
shorn of some of its finest districts. Under the House of Anjou 
the Counts of Provence had acquired (1259-1260, 1306-1347) 
much territory on the E. slope of the Alps, so that they ruled over 
many of the Alpine valleys thereon situated, those of the Varaita, 
the Maira, the Stura, the Gesso, and the Vermenagna. On the 
extinction of the first Angevin house of the Counts of Provence 
(1382), the new count, dazzled by the prospect of the crown of 
Naples (to which he had become entitled by the will of Queen- 
Countess Joanna) gave up all his rights over these parts to the 
junior branch of the House of Savoy (from which in 14 18 the 
senior branch inherited them, with Piedmont). The elder branch 
of the House of Savoy, too, in 1382 acquired the town of 
Cuneo, which commands the great passes of the Col de 
I'Argentiere, leading by the Stura and Ubaye valleys to 
Barcelonnette, and of the Col de Tenda, leading by the 
Vermenagna and Roja valleys to VentimigUa. Both formed 
part of the county of Nice, which had in the tenth and eleventh 
centuries been ruled by its local counts, who acknowledged the 
Counts of Provence as their suzerain, and later on the town had 
become practically independent. In the course of the struggle 
between the second Angevin dynasty of Provence and the junior 
or Durazzo branch of the House of Naples, the former was on the 
point of occupying Nice, which submitted (1388) to the House 
of Savoy, rather than accept the rule of the new line of Counts 
of Provence. In this way the great county of Nice (including 


the valley of the Var, with its tributaries, the Tinee and the 
Vesubie, together with the uppermost bit of that of the Verdon, 
as well as the valley of the Ubaye which communicates with 
the Tinee valley by easy passes), split off from Provence and 
came into the possession of the Counts of Savoy, this in- 
heritance including only the middle bit of the Roja valley. Thus 
the county of Provence ceased to have any relation to the Alps, 
and passes out of our sight; 

We are now in a position to consider the final struggle for 
the Western Alps between France (the heir of the Dauphins) 
and the House of Savoy (which in 1418 had inherited Piedmont 
from its cadet branch). It may be roughly summed up in the 
statement that both parties gradually withdrew, as it were, the 
feelers which each possessed on that slope of the Alps whereon 
their interests were becoming less and less important — in short, 
that each, however unconsciously, tried to make the crest of the 
Alps the frontier between their territories. In modern phrase, 
an ' adjustment ' of frontiers was urgently called for. Now in 
1349 the lordship of Faucigny had passed, with the Dauphine 
(which had held it from 1268), to France. But this district 
(the valley of the Arve, and so Chamonix) is just S. of the 
Chablais (held by Savoy from very early times), and it was 
naturally very inconvenient for the House of Savoy (which had 
actually ruled in the Faucigny, 1 253-1 268) to have a French 
wedge thrust in between divers of their own territories. Hence 
in 1355 France gave up this district (with Gex, N. of Geneva) 
to Savoy, receiving in exchange various lands (Voiron, etc.) N. 
of Grenoble. This was the first step in a long drawn out pro- 
cess. In 1529 the French occupied the marquessate of Saluzzo 
(the lower Varaita valley, of which the uppermost part had for 
ages belonged to the Dauphine), but in 1588 this was won by 
the House of Savoy, which in 1601 obtained a formal cession 
from France in exchange for the non-Alpine lands of Bresse, 
Bugey, and Gex. Nevertheless the uppermost bit of the Varaita 


valley, with the various districts in the Dora Riparia and 
Chisone valleys enumerated in detail above (together with the 
lower Chisone valley and Pinerolo, 1536-1574, and 1630-1695) 
remained French, though situated on that slope of the Alps on 
which the House of Savoy was now setting firm foot: on the other 
hand, the House of Savoy held Barcelonnette with the rest of the 
county of Nice on what was becoming the French slope of the 
Alps. Hence an exchange was advantageous to both parties, and 
so by the Treaty of Utrecht (17 13) the House of Savoy gave up 
Barcelonnette in exchange for the French districts just named. 
It was during a temporary reoccupation by France of the lower 
Chisone valley that there came into existence for a few years 
(1704-8) the quaint little Vaudois 'Republic of St. Martin,' 
which was composed of the Germanasca valley (which joins that 
of the Chisone at Perosa), and during its short life was under 
the protection of France. It was not till i860 that the rest of 
the county of Nice, with Savoy itself, became French finally, 
though they had been occupied from 1792 to 181 5. Thus the 
frontier between France and the realms of the House of Savoy 
was 'rectified,' the only exceptions to the 'natural frontier' 
being (as was pointed out in the last chapter) that the heads 
of certain Alpine valleys on the S.W. slope were left (for the 
sake of the hunting rights) in the hands of Savoy, which also 
kept the upper and lower bits of the Roja valley, as being part 
of the county of Tenda-Ventimiglia, and so not included in the 
cession of the county of Nice. 

Meanwhile the House of Savoy had been gathering in territory 
on the E. slope of the Alps other than that obtained from France. 
It did indeed lose the district of Aigle (1475) and the barony of 
Vaud (1536) to Berne, as well as the Lower Vallais (1475-6) to 
the Swiss, who, however, only occupied the Chablais for a few 
years (1536-1564). But in 1418 the House of Savoy inherited 
Piedmont from its cadet branch, having the year before obtained 
from the Emperor Sigismund the title of Duke, and transferring 
its capital in 1559 from Chambery to Turin. In 1575 it 
obtained the county of Tenda and in 1631-1703 the marquessate 
of Montferrat. By the Treaty of Utrecht (17 13) it gained the 


crown of Sicily, which in 1720 it exchanged for that of Sardinia, 
this last-named title being only altered in 1861 for the proud 
name King of Italy. From the Milanese it won by the Treaty 
of Utrecht (1713) the upper valley of the Sesia, and in 1743, by 
that of Worms, the Val d'Ossola (with its side glens), the cession 
of these relatively small bits of territory being of importance to 
us as they affect the political history of Monte Rosa. To com- 
plete our tale of how the House of Savoy came to rule over the 
entire E. slope of the Western Alps let us add that Genoa and 
the coast were won in 181 5, while Lombardy and Venetia fell in 
respectively in 1859 and 1866, but these regions belong to the 
Central and Eastern Alps, of which the political history will be 
sketched below. 

Political Peaks (Western Alps) 

After this long journey through history, let us apply what we 
have learnt from it and consider briefly what was formerly the 
political status of some of the great mountain groups in the 
Western Alps, for, after all, they, with their neighbours in the 
Central and Eastern Alps, form the real subject of this work. 

In the Maritime Alps the highest summits are now Italian, 
even most of those on the watershed, because they came to the 
House of Savoy with the county of Nice (1388), and, for the 
sake of Victor Emmanuel's hunting rights, were not given over to 
France in i860. The highest purely French summit in this 
region is the Mont Pelat (10,017 ft.) while the frontier runs over 
the Mont Tinibras (9948 ft.), but the highest peak of all, the 
Punta deir Argentera (10,794 ft.) is wholly Italian, and rises on a 
spur N. of the main watershed. Farther N. the lofty peaks (the 
highest is the Aiguille de Chambeyron, 11,155 ft., which is on 
a spur W. of the main ridge) round the head of the Ubaye valley 
are now French, so far as regards their W. slope, since they were 
handed over to France at the Treaty of Utrecht (17 13), and so 
till the same date was a portion of their E. slope (towards the 
head of the Val Varaita); but that bit of the E. slope then 


(1713) became Savoyard, as did the remainder of the E. slope in 
1 60 1, when Savoy got it with the marquessate of Saluzzo. 

Monte Viso, itself, like so many great Alpine summits, rises on 
a spur (this time E.) of the main chain. Its S. slope was there- 
fore part of the Dauphine till this became French in 1349, and 
continued so till 17 13, while its N. slope was in the marquessate 
of Saluzzo, and so became Savoyard in 1601 only. 

The great mass of the Dai/phitte Alps stands W. of the main 
chain, so that they have been wholly French from 1349, when 
the Dauphine was sold to that power, but their S. slope was 
Provencal, till the Gapengais passed to the Dauphine' in 1232. 
In the case of the high ranges that rise in the Maurienne (Arc 
valley) and Tarentaise (upper Isere valley) they were always 
Savoyard from the eleventh century till i860, when Savoy was 
ceded to France. The highest summit therein (the Grande 
Casse, 12,668 ft.) is far to the W. of the main chain, so that it 
is now wholly French. But the other slope of the Alps of the 
Maurienne is Italian now, since it was formerly Savoyard. 
Yet the frontier line is so drawn that the summit of the Roche- 
melon (11,605 ft.) was in i860 left in Italy, as it before had 
been for ages in the hands of the House of Savoy, which can 
thus still boast of having owned since the eleventh century the 
first snow mountain in the Alps that was ever scaled by man 
(1358). On the E. side of the main watershed rises the Grand 
Paradis group, of which the N. slope has always been Aostan 
(that is, Savoyard), though the S. slope only came to the House 
of Savoy when it acquired the Canavese (upper Oreo valley) in 


The political history of the chain oi Mo?tt B iafic has been singu- 
larly varied. As is well known, the S.S.E. slopes are now Italian, 
and the N.W. slope French (as part of Savoy), while the N.E. 
end is Vallaisan (and so Swiss). What is the explanation of this 
threefold division ? It is simply the result of historical causes. 
The S. slope is now Italian because the House of Savoy has held 
the valley of Aosta, one of its earliest possessions, since the 
middle of the eleventh century. The N. slope (Chamonix, or the 
upper Arve valley) came in 1268 to the Dauphine through a lucky 








marriage (1241) with the heiress of the Faucigny, and remained 
with that dynasty till 1349, when it passed, with the rest of its 
dominions, to France. But this state of things was very incon- 
venient for the Count of Savoy, who had held the district (1253- 
1268), as it thrust up a great French wedge between the districts 
of Aosta (S.) and the Chablais (N.), so that in 1355 he got it by 
exchange in return for some lands near Voiron. It did not become 
French (of course, from 1349 to 1355 it was part of the Dauphine, 
and so not strictly of France) till 1792, was lost in 1814, and 
was won finally in i860. Thus from 1355 to i860 (save 1792- 
18 14) the N. slope of the chain was Savoyard, as the S. slope has 
always been. There now remains to account for that odd little 
Swiss bit at the N.E. extremity of the chain. In the thirteenth 
century the Lower Vallais was taken from the Bishop of Sion by 
the House of Savoy, but in 1475-6 it was recovered by the bishop, 
with the aid of the ' tithings ' of the Upper Vallais, and remained 
a subject district till it was freed in 1798, becoming Swiss, when 
the Vallais became Swiss, in 18 15. Note, too, that the Swiss and 
French bits of the chain (but not the Italian bit) are included in 
the Swiss and N. Savoyard districts which were neutralised in 
1 81 5 at the Congress of Vienna. 

As regards the actual summit of Mont Blanc the French (and 
their official maps) draw the frontier line slightly to the S. (over 
the Mont Blanc de Courmayeur) of the culminating point. But 
the Italians (and //^e/V official maps) make the frontier line follow 
the watershed, and so pass over the actual top, and not to its S. 
Some of the older maps seem to be in favour of the French con- 
tention, as well as apparently the map annexed to the report of 
the Boundary Commission of 1861 ; but this last map is declared 
by the Italians to reproduce a mistake of the original Sardinian 
map, published in 1854, but later corrected. The text of the 
Report favours the Italian contention, stating that the boundary 
follows the watershed, and so passes over the summit of Mont 
Blanc. The Grand Combin itself rises to the N. of the main 
watershed, so that the W. slope of this group was Savoyard from 
the thirteenth century to 1476, but its E. slope (Val de Bagnes 
side) was Savoyard for a much longer time, as the upper Val de 


Bagnes was given in 1252 by the Count of Savoy to the lords of 
Quart in the Aosta valley, and seems to have remained Aostan 
(despite many attacks by the Vallaisans) till the early seventeenth 
century, when it finally became Vallaisan. Almost all the peaks 
round AroUa stand N. of the main watershed, and so are and 
have always been purely Vallaisan. Those on the watershed share 
the fate of the Matterhorn, and are half- Vallaisan and half- Aostan 
(that is, Savoyard). The highest summit, the Dufourspitze 
(15,217 ft,), of Monte Rosa, rises W. of the watershed, and so is 
entirely Swiss (that is, Vallaisan), being thus the loftiest summit 
of Switzerland, which is not the Mischabel or Dom, as often 
stated. The other summits of Monte Rosa mainly rise on the 
watershed itself. Hence their N. or W. slope has always been 
Vallaisan ; but their S. and E. flank was always in the Milanese 
till in 1 7 13 the upper Val Sesia was given to the House of Savoy, 
which also in 1743 got, with the Val d'Ossola, the side glen of 
the Val Anzasca, above which Monte Rosa towers up so grandly. 
It is amusing to think that the great Alpine summits have thus 
had divers political fates. This, however, was not due to any 
action on their part, but to the struggles of the human midgets at 
their feet, who were perhaps regarded by the cloud-capped 
mountains as intruders, dividing up that to which they had no 
right save force. Till very recently, too, these midgets never 
dared to come within the range of the heavy artillery (such as 
avalanches) of the Alpine giants, which came into existence 
geologically before man, and may perhaps long survive his 

(From the Simplon to the Reschen Scheideck) 

In tracing the political history of this region we are at 
once confronted by a difficulty which does not exist either 
in the Western or in the Eastern Alps. It relates to the great 
mountain masses which rise hke islets at some distance from the 
main chain, being connected with it by a narrow sound or 


isthmus only. Now in the Western Alps such ranges passed 
from one dynasty to the other without any local struggle, the 
S. slope of the Pelvoux group by virtue of purchase in 1232 by 
the Counts of Albon from those of Provence, while the Western 
Graians (between the Maurienne and the Tarentaise) were quietly 
ceded in i860 by the king of Sardinia to France, together with 
the rest of Savoy. Again, in the Eastern Alps the tangled ranges 
that stand N. of the main chain were the subject of a long 
struggle, but of the same struggle in which the main chain 
was involved. In the Central Alps the state of things is quite 
different. Here we have a protracted struggle for the main 
chain between the holders of the Milanese and the three 
Swiss districts which bordered immediately on that duchy — the 
Vallais, Uri, and the Orisons. Quite apart from and totally 
distinct from this struggle, there is another fight going on between 
these three border Swiss districts and their rivals (also Swiss) to 
the N. — in short, in the case of the Swiss ranges which rise N. 
of the main chain, a sort of civil territorial war is waged which 
has only the remotest connection, if indeed it has any, with the 
international struggle taking place to the S. Thus while the 
Vallais, Uri, and the Orisons all contend with the holders of the 
Milanese on the S., they also resist or attack their neighbours 
to the N. It is true that Berne never got a permanent footing 
in the Vallais, but Uri and the Vallais did secure pasturages 
which lie within the limits of Berne and Unterwalden and Olarus, 
while the Orisons greatly extended their domains towards the N. 
by first securing the support of the communities which from 1436 
onwards formed the League of the Ten Jurisdictions, and then by 
buying up the rights therein of the lords of the manor. 

We must thus consider the international and the local political 
history of the Central Alps in two separate sections, in order not 
to lose the thread in this tangled labyrinth. 

A. — The Struggle with the Milanese 

The kingdom of Italy {i.e. Lombardy or N. Italy) lasted from 
the conquest of the Lombards (774) by Charles the Oreat till 


the time of the Great Interregnum (1254-12 73), when it was 
lost to the Emperors. It then broke up into a number of bits, 
held by powerful cities or great feudal nobles. Here we have to 
follow the fortunes of one of these cities. 

In 1277 the prosperous city of Milan, situated at the meeting- 
point of the routes over many Alpine passes, and in the fertile 
plain of Lombardy, submitted to the wealthy House of Visconti. 
In the course of the fourteentS century the new lords of Milan 
greatly increased their domains at the expense of other families. 
In 1335 they secured Como and so Chiavenna and the Valtelline, 
in 1342 Bellinzona and Locarno, about 1350 Bormio and 
Poschiavo, in 1354 the Novarese, and in 1378 and 1381 the 
lower and the upper Val d'Ossola, while in 1395 the Emperor 
Wenceslaus raised them to the dignity of dukes. This rapidly 
growing power naturally excited the jealousy and the fears of the 
communities which were rising on the N. slope of the Alpine 
chain, and so the inevitable struggle began. But before attempt- 
ing to trace its various phases let us briefly sketch the future 
political fortunes of the Milanese, as it may be useful for the 
understanding of the later sections of our history. The Visconti 
dynasty came to an end in 1447, and in 1450 was replaced by 
that of the Sforzas, the founder of which had married the illegiti- 
mate daughter of the last Visconti. The Sforzas ruled, at least 
in name, till 1535, but the duchy was occupied at several times 
by invaders, for it had become an object of desire not merely to 
the Swiss, but to the French and to the Habsburgs. Thus the 
French held it from 1500 to 1512, and again from 1515 to 1521, 
while from 1512 to 1515 the Swiss occupied it, under the nominal 
rule of Maximilian Sforza, whose brother ruled from 1521 to 
1535. On the extinction of the Sforza family (1535) the 
Milanese reverted to the Emperor Charles v.; in 1540 he 
granted it to his son, Philip, who in 1556 became king of Spain. 
It remained part of the Spanish inheritance till 17 14, when by 
the Treaty of Utrecht it became Austrian, which it had been 
practically since 1706. Towards the end of the eighteenth 
century the Milanese went through a rapid succession of political 
changes. In 1796 it formed part of the Lombard Republic; in 


1797, of the Cisalpine Republic ; in 1802, of the Italian Republic; 
and in 1805, of the kingdom of Italy. Finally, in 1814, it returned 
to the House of Austria, which ruled therein till 1859, when the 
Milanese became part of the Sardinian kingdom, and soon after 
(1861) of the new kingdom of United Italy. 

But during these centuries the Milanese had sustained both 
permanent losses (the Val Leventina in 1440, Poschiavoin i486, 
Bellinzona in 1500, Lugano and Locarno in 1512) as well as 
temporary losses (Bormio and Chiavenna, with the Valtelline, 
from 1512 to 1797). These losses were gains to the Swiss, and 
we must now turn to that side of the subject. 

A glance at a map will show that between the Simplon and 
the Stelvio Pass four long valleys run up from the S. to the main 
watershed of the Alps, in each case seeming to thrust back this 
watershed towards the N. These valleys are those of Ossola or 
of the Tosa, of Leventina or the Ticino, of the Liro or of San 
Giacomo (above Chiavenna), and of the Valtelline or of the 
Adda (the history of the second pair being identical). Being 
both easy of access from the N., and commanding the rich plains 
on the S., these valleys formed the scene of the prolonged 
struggle the history of which we are studying. It resulted in the 
permanent loss of the Val Leventina only, the three other glens 
being only held for a longer or shorter time by the invaders from 
the N. In fact, this struggle is really a series of three more or 
less separate struggles, carried out by different actors. 

(a). Let us consider first the Val d' Ossola, or the Tosa valley, 
which at its head (the Val Formazza) is still inhabited by German- 
speaking colonists from the Vallais, who came thither in the 
thirteenth century. Into the Tosa valley lead, directly or in- 
directly, all the great passes over the Alps from the Upper 
Vallais to the E. — the Monte Moro, the Antrona Pass, the 
Simplon, the Albrun Pass, and the Gries Pass. Now all these 
passes were very important from the commercial point of view, 
especially the Gries, as over it came by way of the Grimsel much 
merchandise to and from Berne. Hence, quite apart from any 
strategical considerations, the possession of the Val d'Ossola meant 
much to the Swiss, and in particular to the Upper Vallaisans. 


A short occupation in 1410 by Uri, Obwalden, Glarus, Zug, and 
Lucerne was followed by a longer one (1411-14) by all the Con- 
federates save Berne {i.e. Uri, Schwyz, Unterwalden, Lucerne, 
Zug, Glarus, and Zurich), who had, however, to yield possession to 
the Duke of Savoy's troops which crossed the Simplon and so 
took them in the rear. Retaken in 14 16 by the Confederates 
(save Berne and Schwyz), helped by the Vallaisans, the Val 
d'Ossola had to be given up, like the other Milanese conquests 
by the Swiss, after the disastrous battle of Arbedo in 1422. But 
in October-November, 1425, another raid by the Confederates 
(helped this time by Berne as well as by the Vallais) across the 
Albrun Pass led to a short occupation, which came to an end in 
1426, when the valley was sold back to the Duke of Milan. The 
prize was, however, too tempting to be definitively given up, and 
was once more held from 1512 to 151 5, with other Italian con- 
quests, by all the twelve Confederates, save Appenzell. But after 
the fight of Marignano (1515) the Val d'Ossola was finally lost 
to the Swiss, despite their century's struggle. 

{b). The Swiss were more fortunate in the case of the Val 
Leventina or the Ticino valley, down which now thunder the 
huge engines of the St. Gotthard railway, and of the districts 
lying to the S. of that Val. The St. Gotthard is the great pass 
by which Uri communicates directly with the S., and so the men 
of Uri did their best to extend their power in that direction, as 
well as in others, for they could not abide to be shut up for good 
in their narrow valley of the Reuss. Hence in 1403, with the 
help of Obwalden, they occupied the long-coveted Val Leventina 
(which properly belonged to the metropolitan see of Milan), and 
in 14 1 9 further secured their position by the purchase from the 
Sax lords (who ruled in the adjoining Val Mesocco, and had in 
1403 taken the town from Milan) of Bellinzona, which is the key 
to the entrance into the mountains. But both were lost in 1422 
after the fatal day of Arbedo. A second attempt was more 
successful. This time it was made by Uri alone, which in 1440 
won back the Val Leventina (and ruled over it till 1798), while in 
1500 (helped by Schwyz and Nidwalden) Uri secured for good 
Bellinzona, together with the Val Blenio and the ' Riviera ' or 


region between Biasca, at the junction of the last-named valley 
with the Val Leventina, and Bellinzona — this entire district being 
ruled till 1798 by the three Cantons, whose names are still borne 
by the three fifteenth century castles at Bellinzona. Finally, in 
15 12, the Swiss, on the point of becoming the masters of Milan, 
occupied, and that for good, the fertile region of Locarno, the Val 
Maggia, Lugano, and Mendrisio, and did not lose them in 1515 
as they lost Milan itself: this region was ruled by all the twelve 
Confederates, Appenzell having no share (admitted in 15 13). In 
1798 the Swiss, however, lost all their Italian conquests to the 
Helvetic Republic, of which the Canton of Bellinzona took in 
that town and the Val Leventina, while the Canton of Lugano 
comprised the acquisitions of 15 12. But in 1803 both these 
Cantons were united to form the single one of Tessin or Ticino, 
which was then admitted to full rights as one of the 19 

Such is the history of ' Italian Switzerland,' a region which at 
first astonishes the traveller, as he cannot see how what are 
clearly in point of climate, etc., parts of Italy can possibly belong 
to the Swiss. It simply consists of the conquests made by the 
Swiss in the fifteenth century, and not lost by them (as was the 
Val d'Ossola). This fact accounts also for the purely conven- 
tional nature of the frontier line, especially S. of Lugano, for it 
extends to within three miles of the town of Como (which, no 
doubt, the Swiss would have liked to swallow also), while the 
Canton of Tessin includes most of the Lake of Lugano and the 
most northerly bit of the Lago Maggiore. Scarcely anywhere 
else can historical geography explain a more curious state of 
things, for Tessin is simply a great slice of the Milanese in the 
hands of non-Italians. 

ic). We now pass to the case of the possessions (that is, the 
Valtelline) held by the Orisons, or the Three Leagues of Reetia, 
in the Milanese. But we must take care not to include in these 
the Val Bregagha (down which runs the road from the Maloja 
Pass towards Chiavenna), for, though in 803 Charles the Great 
bestowed it on the Bishop of Como, in 960 it was given by 
the Emperor Otto i. to the Bishop of Coire (who thus held 


both slopes of the Septimer Pass, the principal mediaeval 
route over this portion of the Alps), and has never since been 
lost by the Grisons, his heirs in title. We may also dispose 
at once of the case of the Val Mesocco (or Misoxthal), which 
in 1026 was granted (in order to guard the Alpine passes) to 
the Bishop of Como. But his powers, by 12 19 at the latest, had 
passed into the hands of the Sax lords, by whom the valley 
(included in the Upper Reetian League since 1480) was sold 
in 1494 to the Trivulzio family of Milan, which in 1496 entered 
the Upper Rsetian League, and in 1549 sold to it all their 
manorial rights. As the Val Mesocco joins the Val Leventina 
at Bellinzona its history forms a link between that of the 
Milanese conquests of the Grisons and those of Uri and its 
allies. Further, the possession of this valley by non-Milanese 
means that both sides of the San Bernardino Pass have since 
1496 been in Raetian {i.e. practically Swiss) hands, a fact which 
has had its influence on the historical fortunes of that pass, 
early known as the ' Vogelberg ' or ' Mons Avium,' but in the 
fifteenth century renamed from a chapel dedicated to San 
Bernardino of Siena, on its S. slope. 

Apart from the cases of the Val Bregaglia and the Val 
Mesocco, the struggle in this portion of the Alps lies between 
the holders of the Milanese, as successors in title (in 1335) 
of the Bishop and city of Como, and the Three Rjetian 
Leagues. Li 775 Charles the Great, after overcoming the 
Lombards, made a gift of the Valtelline (with Poschiavo and 
Bormio, as it would seem from the confirmation granted in 843) 
to the monastery of St. Denis near Paris, which, probably, 
never exercised any real power in these remote districts. At 
any rate, in 824 Lothair i. gave them to the Bishop of Como 
(who had received Chiavenna in 803), though in 841 he 
reserved the suzerainty to St. Denis. But at some later date 
these districts (save Chiavenna) were committed to the charge 
of the Bishop of Coire, a faithful friend of the Emperors, and 
so thought worthy of being intrusted with the guardianship of 
the Alpine passes. However, from at least the early thirteenth 
century the authority of the bishops was practically superseded 


in Bormio and Poschiavo by that of their powerful vassals, the 
Matsch family, which, further, in 13 13, obtained from the 
Emperor Henry vii. a mortgage of the Valtelline. But the 
rising power of the Visconti at Milan proved too strong, after 
their entrance on the lands of Como (1335), even for the 
Matsch family. About 1350 (the Valtelline in 1336 already) 
all these districts were lost to them and their master, the 
Bishop of Coire, and formed part of the Milanese, soon (1395) 
to become an independent duchy (Poschiavo was again held 
by the Bishop of Coire from 1394 to 1470). On the other 
hand, Chiavenna had been given in 803 by Charles the Great 
to the Bishops of Como, whom the Bishops of Coire were 
never able to oust, despite several attempts, and whose 
supremacy in that region they acknowledged in 12 19. 

Now in 1385 the ruler of Milan, Barnabas Visconti, was 
slain by his nephew, Gian Galeazzo, but the youngest son of 
Barnabas, named Mastino, escaped and took refuge with the 
Bishop of Coire, to whom in 1404 he made a donation of all 
his rights over Bormio, the Valtelline, Poschiavo, and 
Chiavenna. This donation was the pretext, in virtue of which 
the bishop (and his heirs, the Three Raetian Leagues) claimed 
possession of these districts. But they actually acquired them 
at different times — Poschiavo in i486, Bormio, Chiavenna, and 
the Valtelline in 151 2. Poschiavo was never lost again, while 
the other districts remained in the hands of the Rgetian 
Leagues till 1797, then passing to the Cisalpine Republic, and 
henceforth sharing the fortunes of the rest of the Milanese 
(Italian Republic, 1802 ; kingdom of Italy, 1805 ; Austria, 
1814; Sardinian kingdom, 1859; and United Italy, 1861). 
Let us note, too, that the three villages (Dongo, Domaso, and 
Gravedona) near the N. end of the Lake of Como, which are 
known as the ' Tre Pievi ' (the three parishes), submitted to 
the Raetian Leagues in 15 12, but were lost to them in 1525, 
and became again part of the Milanese. 

The valley of Livigno, which lies on the N. slope of the 
main Alpine chain, shared throughout the fortunes of the 
county of Bormio, in which it was included, and hence, with 


the Val di Lei (in the county of Chiavenna) is, as we pointed 
out in the last chapter, the only bit of Italian territory which 
stretches over on to the non-Italian slope of the Alps. In 1635 
Livigno was the scene of a remarkable campaign by Rohan 
and the French against the Imperial troops, and it is most 
interesting to trace out on the spot, as the writer of these lines 
has done, the various phases of this little Alpine war. This 
campaign of Rohan formed part of the great struggle between 
the French and Spanish for the possession of the Valtelline, 
by means of which the Spanish holders of the Milanese could 
easily communicate with the Austrian branch of the Habsburgers 
in the Tyrol. That struggle was prolonged for nearly twenty 
years (1620-1639), the French holding the Valtelline 1624-7 
and 1635-7, a^d the Pope in 1623 and in 1627, while the 
Spaniards occupied it for most of the remainder of the time. 
The famous Grisons leader, Georg Jenatsch, supported the 
French in 1635, but then went over to the Spanish side till he 
was assassinated in 1639, and a little later the Spaniards 
restored the valley to the RcCtian Leagues. 

Political Peaks (Central Alps) 

The peaks which rise on or near the watershed of the Central 
Alps are not so well known to most people as are those in a 
corresponding situation in the Western Alps. The two loftiest 
summits of the Lepontine Alps, the Monte Leone (11,684 ft.) 
and the Blindenhorn (11,103 ^^•)^ both rise on the watershed, 
and so have shared the fortunes of the Upper Vallais and of 
the Val Formazza, the highest reach of the Val d'Ossola. But 
one of the next in height, the Basodino (10,749 ft.), rises to the 
E. of the main chain, though it, too, is on a political frontier, 
namely that between the Val Formazza and the Val Maggia, 
so that its E. slope has been Swiss since 15 12 only. If we go 
on in a N.E. direction, we find that the two highest summits 
of the Gotthard group, the Pizzo Rotondo (10,489 ft.) and the 
Pizzo di Pesciora (10,247 ft.), are on the main watershed ; hence 
their W. slope is Vallaisan, but their E. slope, being in Tessin, 


is Swiss since 1440, when the Val Leventina was finally acquired 
by Uri. The third peak in that group, the Wyttenwasserstock, 
has, however, a still more curious history : its E. and lower 
point (9922 ft.) is on the principal watershed, but it rises also 
at the point of junction of the boundaries of the cantons of 
Uri, Vallais, and Tessin, and thus is wholly Swiss, though its 
different slopes have become Swiss at different times — the N. 
slope in 1291 (Uri), the E. slope in 1803 (Tessin), and the 
W. slope in 1815 (Vallais); further, this lower summit sends 
down streams to three seas (like the Pizzo Lunghino, of which 
more below), in this case, by the Ticino and the Po to the 
Hadriatic, by the Rhone to the Mediterranean, and by the 
Reuss and Rhine to the North Sea. On the other hand, the 
far finer higher summit (10,119 ft.) rises simply on the frontier 
between the Vallais and Uri. Continuing our journey east- 
wards we note that both Scopi (10,499 ft.) and the Piz Medel 
(10,509 ft.) in the Adula Alps rise on the watershed between 
the Grisons and Tessin, as does the culminating point of the 
group, the Rheinwaldliorn (11,149 ft.). With the last-named 
peak we finally quit Tessin, which since the Basodino and the 
Pizzo Rotondo has had such a curious influence on many 
summits on the main watershed, showing thus that it is purely 
by an historical accident or oddity that Switzerland extends 
across the great line of the Alps. On either side of the 
Spliigen Pass Piz Tambo (10,749 ft-) and the Surettahorn 
(9945 ft-) rise on the great watershed, and also, to our relief, on 
the frontier between the Grisons and Italy. But beyond, at 
the Pizzo Gallegione (10,201 ft.) the poHtical frontier dips S.E., 
so that while that summit is shared by Italy and the Grisons, 
its neighbours to the E., such as the Pizzo della Duana 
(10,279 ft-) and the Pizzo Lunghino (9121 ft.), are, though on 
the main watershed, yet not merely wholly Swiss, but belong 
wholly to one single Swiss canton, for both the Avers valley 
and the Oberhalbstein, as well as the Val Bregaglia, form part 
of the Grisons. The Pizzo Lunghino, too, occupies a very 
remarkable topographical position, since from its flanks 
streams flow to three seas, in this case, by the Rhine to the 


North Sea, by the Maira and Adda and Po to the Mediter- 
ranean, and by the Inn to the Black Sea : it is, too, the point 
at which the ranges enclosing the Engadine split off from each 
other. Keeping along that to the S.E., and so on the main 
crest of the Alps, we find that almost all the higher summits 
of the Bernina Alps are half in the Grisons and half in the 
Valtelline {i.e. Italy) : such is very nearly the case with Piz 
Bernina (13,304 ft.), and quite the case with Piz Roseg (12,934 
ft.) and Piz Zupo (13,151 ft.), but the splendid Monte della 
Disgrazia (12,067 ft.) is an exception to this general rule, for 
it rises S. of the watershed, and so is wholly within the 
Valtelline, though it was wholly Swiss, or rather Rsetian, 
from 15 1 2 to 1797. 

More to the E., between the Bernina, Reschen Scheideck, 
and Stelvio Passes, the physical watershed and the political 
frontier seem to take a pleasure in not agreeing with one 
another, the cause being that Poschiavo, and the upper 
Miinster valley, though on the S. slope of the Alps, are 
politically Swiss, while the valley of Livigno, though on the 
N. slope of the great watershed, is politically Italian. Start- 
ing from the Bernina Pass the physical watershed joins the 
political frontier near the Corno di Carapo (10,844 ft), which, 
therefore, like its neighbour on the S.E., the Cima di Saoseo 
(10,752 ft.), is half Swiss and half Italian, though the two 
loftiest summits between the Bernina Pass and the Reschen 
Scheideck or the Stelvio, namely the Cima di Piazzi (11,283 ft.) 
and the Cima Viola (11,103 ft-)) ^'^'^^ to the E. of the frontier, 
and so are wholly Italian (though Swiss from 151 2 to 1797), 
as being situated in the county of Bormio. From the Corno 
di Campo the watershed runs, roughly speaking, N.E., along 
the E. side of the Livigno valley, and on the rolling plateau 
which forms the summit-level of the Fraele Pass (6398 ft.) 
meets the political frontier, which has made a long round, 
first N., then N.E., finally S.E., and formed the boundary 
between the Engadine and the Livigno valley — Piz Languard 
(10,716 ft.) stands rather to the W. of the frontier, so is wholly 
Swiss. But, having met, the two boundaries part at once, not 


to meet once more till they reach the Urtiolaspitze (9551 ft.) 
to the N.E. of the village of Miinster in the Miinster valley. 
The political frontier soon bears S.E. from the Fraele Pass 
in order to gain the Stelvio Pass (9055 ft), just N. of which 
rises the low summit named the Dreisprachenspitze (9328 ft.), 
as it marks the meeting-point of the districts in which Italian, 
German, and Ladin are spoken, and also, since 1859, the 
meeting-point of the political frontiers between Switzerland, 
Italy, and Austria : the Austro-Italian frontier runs N. and 
S. across the Stelvio (the carriage road, of course, runs E. 
and W.), that between Switzerland and Italy, which we are 
following, keeping N. for a while till it bends N.W. to cut 
across the Miinster valley before reaching the Urtiolaspitze. 
Meanwhile from the Fraele Pass the watershed keeps N.E, to the 
Ofen Pass (7071 ft.), and then bears E. to the Urtiolaspitze. 
Both continue for a short distance along the ridge to the N. 
of the Urtiolaspitze, but then the political frontier keeps N. 
so as to reach the Lower Engadine at Martinsbruck, while the 
watershed runs E. to the Reschen Scheideck Pass (4902 ft.), our 
limit between the Central and the Eastern Alps. Surely there is 
no other region in the Alps where the physical and the political 
frontiers are so interlaced as in that which we have just been 
describing, and this simply for reasons connected with the 
political history of the district. Did the theory of natural 
frontiers hold good in this part of the Alps, Poschiavo and the 
upper Miinster valley should be respectively Italian and 
Tyrolese, while Livigno should be Swiss. Hardly anywhere 
else in the Alps, save in the Maritime Alps, or near Caprile or 
Cortina, in the Dolomites, does the traveller realise better the 
meaning of the phrase ' a conventional frontier.' It is history, 
and history alone, which can supply the key to such com- 
plicated puzzles. 

B. — The Struggle towards the North 

We must now turn our eyes towards the North. After 
the reversion (1032) of the kingdom of Burgundy to the 


Empire, Conrad ii. committed (1038) the rule in Burgundy 
(roughly speaking, the W. half of present Switzerland) as well 
as the duchy of Alamannia or of Swabia (roughly speaking, the 
E. half of present Switzerland), to his son, Henry, who, elected 
next year to the Empire, was able to maintain his power in 
these regions, with a strong hand, till his death (1056). In 
1057 both dignities were bestowed by Henry's widow on her 
favourite, Rudolf of Rheinfelden, who, not content with this, 
set himself up in 1077 as rival Emperor, supported by the 
Pope, against his brother-in-law, Henry iv., though this act 
of daring cost him his crown and his life (1080). Rudolf's 
heir and son-in-law, Berchtold of Zaringen, however, continued 
the struggle for these lands (though not for the crown) 
against the Hohenstaufen family, which Henry iv. had in- 
vested (1079) with the duchy of Swabia. The Zaringen dynasty 
was successful, for in 1097 the Hohenstaufens were pushed 
back behind the Rhine and the imperial fief of Ziirich 
given to their rival, while in 11 27 the Emperor made the 
Duke of Zaringen ' Rector of Burgundy,' or his representa- 
tive in that region, thus practically abdicating, so far as 
regards this portion of his realm, in favour of the powerful 
Zaringen dynasty. The Zaringen family became extinct in 
1218 (though by the foundation of Fribourg, about 1177, and 
of Berne in 1191, it left an indelible mark on its dominions), 
and all its fiefs reverted to the Empire, the power of which in 
these regions was getting weaker and weaker. On the one 
hand, various ' free cities ' were extending their borders, and 
next, a new and even more powerful family than the Zaringens, 
that of Habsburg (the original seat of which was the castle of 
Habsburg, near Brugg, in the Swiss Aargau) in 1264 inherited 
the wide domains of the Counts of Kyburg (the castle of that 
name is near Winterthur), themselves the heirs (11 73) of the 
earlier Counts of Lenzburg (the castle of that name is not far 
from Aarau). When in 1273 the head of this great house, 
Rudolf, became Emperor, it seemed as if nothing could stop its 
victorious progress in the Alpine lands of the Central Alps. 
But in those lands, during the prolonged struggle between 


the Emperor and his great nobles, a set of tiny free communities 
had been freeing themselves from any allegiance save that to 
the Empire, a position which in those times meant practical 
independence. Hitherto the Habsburgers had, as regards these 
communities, appeared as distant and so not much to be feared 
feudal overlords or lords of the manor. But on April 16, 1291, 
Rudolf purchased from the abbey of Murbach, in Alsace, 
its town of Lucerne, situated close to these free communi- 
ties, which thus foresaw the approach of a desperate struggle 
with this rapidily advancing house. Rudolf died on July 15, 
1 291, and, on August i following, the representatives of these 
communities, Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden, concluded the 
'Everlasting League' (mainly a renewal of an older alliance 
probably made during the Great Interregnum, 1 254-1 273), which 
was the germ of the Swiss Confederation. That League was 
destined to stem the progress of the Habsburgers in the 
Central Alps. But the goal was only won by the surprising 
victories of Morgarten (1315), of Sempach (1386), and of 
Nafels (1388), while the League was strengthened in 1332 by 
the entrance of Lucerne, and in 1352 by that of Glarus and 
Zug, and by the adhesion of the non-Alpine towns of Zurich 
(i35i)and of Berne (1353). These were the 8 Cantons, the 
number being later raised to 13 by the admission in 15 13 
of the mountain land of Appenzell, as well as of the non- 
Alpine towns of Fribourg (1481), Soleure (1481), Bale (1501), 
and Schaffhausen (1501). After 1499 the Swiss Confederation 
was no longer considered to be subject to the jurisdiction of 
the Imperial Chamber (the highest judicial tribunal, erected 
in 1495), though it was only by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) 
that its independence of the Empire was formally recognised. 
In 18 1 5, at the Congress of Vienna, the whole of the Swiss 
Confederation was made neutral territory, and its neutrality 
was guaranteed by the Great Powers (including England). The 
old system broke up in 1798, but on the reconstitution of 
the Helvetic Republic by Napoleon's Act of Mediation (1803) 
with 19 Cantons, the Alpine lands of the Grisons, Tessin, 
and Vaud, were received as full members, as well as the non- 


Alpine lands of St. Gall, Thurgau, and Aargau. The admission 
in 1815 of the Alpine district of the Vallais, as well as of 
Neuchatel and Geneva, completed the Swiss Confederation 
as it exists to-day, with its 22 Cantons. 

This brief sketch of the territorial growth of the Swiss 
Confederation has been given here because it helps us better 
to understand the proper subject of this sub-section, the 
struggle of the Alpine Cantons among themselves. That 
domestic struggle would have been impossible had not these 
previously assured themselves against external dangers on 
the north — in short, against the encroachments of the Habs- 
burgers. Once secured against that enemy they could dispute 
freely among themselves. 

This local struggle resolves itself from our point of view 
(for in this work we deal with the Alpine Cantons only and 
not all the Swiss Cantons in general) into three sets of struggles, 
the protagonists in each case being oddly, yet naturally, 
just those three border lands of the Vallais, Uri, and the 
Grisons, whom we have watched during their more or less 
successful attempts to secure to themselves some of the rich 
lands on the other slope of the Alps. Each now strives not 
with the common enemy, the holder of the Milanese, but with 
its neighbour on the north, from which they are more or less 
securely separated by the Alpine ranges rising N. of the 
main chain, for a passage over them can be forced at several 
points just as it can across the great divide itself. 

{a) The Vallais and Berne. — The Vallais (which takes its 
name from the old designation ' Vallis Poenina,' and so 
should be spelt as above, the ordinary omission of one 
of the 'Is' dating only from about 1800) now comprises 
the upper valley of the Rhone, from its source to the Lake of 
Geneva. But earlier its limits were narrower. By the donation 
of temporal jurisdiction made in 999 by Rudolf iii., king of 
Transjurane Burgundy, to the Bishop of Sion, it is probable 
that the lower limit was fixed at about Martigny. But the en- 


croachments of the House of Savoy (partly in their character 
as ' protectors ' of the great monastery of St. Maurice), 
especially in the thirteenth century, pushed back the limit 
of the bishop's rule to the small river Morge, which, flowing 
from the Sanetsch Pass, joins the Rhone just below Sion. 
That was the boundary settled in 1384 (confirmed in 1392) 
between ' Episcopal Vallais ' and ' Savoyard Vallais.' The 
bishops, as well as the great feudal nobles occupying various 
districts above Sion, had, however, to fight not merely against 
the House of Savoy, but also, from the fourteenth century 
onwards, with the free communities which were springing 
up in the uppermost reach of the Rhone valley. These are 
the so-called 'Zehnen' or 'dizains.' This name obviously 
suggests a derivation from the numeral 'ten,' and we may 
safely accept the opinion of the chief authority on Vallais 
history, the late Abbe Gremaud, that though the ' dizains ' 
were but seven in number — Sion, 'the capital'; Sierre, 'the 
delightful ' ; Leuk, ' the strong ' ; Raron, ' the prudent ' ; Visp, 
the noble'; Brieg, 'the rich'; and Conches or Goms, 'the 
Catholic' — yet as that number and the limits of each were 
only fixed in the fifteenth century, the name they bear is a 
recollection of the time, before 1384, when two other districts, 
below Sion (Ardon-Chamoson and Martigny), were ceded to 
Savoy, while Granges, above Sion, by 1335 became separated 
from Sierre. These ' dizains ' having in the fourteenth century 
subdued the feudal nobles (the two chief houses, those of La 
Tour-Chatillon or Turn, and Raron, were finally crushed in 
1375 and in 1417 respectively), and practically secured the 
powers formerly exercised by the bishop, were soon ready 
for an advance (in the bishop's name) against Savoy. Hence 
it was that in 1475-6 they overran and occupied the Vallais 
from the Morge to St. Maurice, also securing in 1536 (con- 
firmed in 1569) the territory (Monthey, etc.) on the left bank 
of the Rhone as far as the Lake of Geneva. These conquests 
of 1475-6 and 1536 formed the 'Lower Vallais,' which was 
ruled harshly by the bishop and the dizains of the Upper 
Vallais till 1798. Then both portions were united as the 


Canton of Vallais in the Helvetic Republic. But in 1802 
Napoleon, desiring to secure the Alpine passes, erected this 
Canton into the independent ' Rhodanic Republic,' finally, in 
1 810, annexing it, under the name of the 'Department of the 
Simplon,' to the French Empire. But in 18 15 the Vallais 
became Swiss, and a full member of the Swiss Confederation, 
with which it had had relations of alliance, more or less close, 
since the early fifteenth century. 

We have pointed out in the preceding chapter the very 
remarkable emigration from the German-speaking Upper Vallais 
which took place in the thirteenth century, and which resulted 
in the establishment of Vallaisan colonies in the Val Formazza 
(upper Tosa valley) as well as in the valleys at the S. and E. 
base of Monte Rosa, and in the far more distant regions round 
the sources of the Hinter Rhine, in the Calfeisen valley, and 
even at Davos. It was only natural that similar colonies should 
try to make their way over the range which shuts in the Vallais 
on the N., that is, to the territory of Berne, or, strictly 
speaking, that which was later to become Bernese. 

Of the two great feudal families of the Upper Vallais, that of 
Raron (near Visp) is now known to have been a branch of 
the lords of Ringgenberg (near Interlaken), who ruled over 
the N. shore of the Lake of Brienz, but, as yet, it has not 
been possible to trace any political effects of this connection. 
It is far otherwise in the case of the second house, that of 
La Tour-Chatillon — Nieder Gestelen — or Turn (their ruined 
castle rises on a height a little to the W. of that whereon 
stood formerly that of the Raron family, burnt in 141 7). The 
lord John of that house married (towards the end of the 
thirteenth century or the beginning of the fourteenth century) 
the heiress of the lords of Wadiswil, who brought with her 
as her dowry the lordship of Frutigen (this including also 
Kandersteg, Adelboden, and the Kien and Suld valleys), 
situated on the N. slope of the Alps. As the Turn family 
already held in the Vallais, among other estates, the valley of 
Lotschen and that of the upper Dala (or Leukerbad), a glance 
at a map will show that they were in possession of both slopes 


of the Gemmi (7641 ft.) and Lotschen (8842 ft.) Passes across 
the range N. of the Vallais. John's father-in-law died in 
1302, and he probably then entered upon his wife's heritage 
(he was already a married man in 1311). Now in 1306 we 
hear of certain men (nine in number) named 'Loscherre' 
(probably a form of 'Lotscher') who, together with a Grindel- 
wald man and his son, purchased the piece of land at Brienz, 
on which they had settled, and the pasturages above the village. 
It is not stated how these men came to be at Brienz. But the 
whole matter is cleared up by a document dated 1346 by 
which Peter (John's son) sells to the monastery at Interlaken 
all his serfs, called ' die Lotscher,' who lived at Gimmel- 
wald, Miirren, Lauterbrunnen and elsewhere in the parish of 
Gsteig (between Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen, the latter 
village having been in that parish till 1506, when it became a 
separate parish), as well as those settled near Brienz. In 1331, 
1349, and 1409 we hear again of these Lotschen serfs at 
Lauterbrunnen. But by the last-named date the lordship of 
Frutigen had passed away from the Tour family, the last male 
member of which, after its downfall in 1375-6 in the Vallais, 
sold his Lauterbrunnen and Brienz serfs to the monastery of 
Interlaken in 1395, and his Frutigen lordship, in 1400, to the 
town of Berne. Thus ended this very curious episode in the 
history of one of the great feudal lordships on the N. slope 
of the Alps that shelter the Vallais. But it has left some 
permanent traces in this settlement at Lauterbrunnen, where 
the stream is still called Liitschine, and the dialect is not 
unlike that of the Vallais. It is even possible that some men 
from this colony came to settle in the neighbouring valley of 
Grind^lwald (wherein these lines are written). There too the 
stream is named Liitschine, while we know from other sources 
that the Wadiswil lords had lands there, which may very well 
have passed with their heiress to John of La Tour-Chatillon, 
as the last mention of the Wadiswil family in connection with 
either the Lauterbrunnen or the Grindelwald valleys is found 
in 1326. 

A more lasting Vallaisan possession on the N. slope of the 



Alps was the plain of Spitalmatte, with the inn or ' hospice ' of 
Schwarenbach, which was decided to belong to Leukerbad as 
against Frutigen, in 1318, by a judgment of lord John of Turn, 
who was settling a dispute between his two bailiffs — possibly this 
bit was Vallaisan as far back as 1252. At the present day the 
Oberaar Alp (or pasture) on the Bernese side of the Grimsel 
Pass belongs to the men of Torbel, a village on the heights 
above Stalden, in the valley leading up to Zermatt. These seem 
to be the only two bits of land on the N. slope of the Alps 
which are held by the Vallais. Berne, however, came off worse, 
for it never secured permanently any part of the Vallais. The 
last raid by the Bernese was in 141 9, in consequence of the 
attempt made by one of their burghers, the lord of Raron (after 
his expulsion from the Vallais, owing to his sympathies with 
Savoy as against the ' dizains '), to recover his estates in 
the Vallais. But this invasion failed, largely owing to the 
great defeat of the Bernese at the village of Ulrichen (one of the 
highest in the Upper Vallais, and close to the point where the 
old mule path over the Grimsel Pass reaches the level of the 
Rhone valley), which was chiefly due to the brave sacrifice of 
his life made by the Vallaisan leader, Thomas Riedi. One 
incident in this short campaign was a skirmish on the snows 
which cover the Lotschen Pass (8842 ft.), which is described 
by the Bernese chronicler, Justinger, with many picturesque 
touches ; in particular, he tells us how the brave Bernese drove 
the Vallaisans from their vantage post on the very top of the 
pass, but had themselves to bivouac on the glacier, where 
they suffered much from the cold and rain (though it was 
August), though they had the supreme satisfaction next day of 
receiving the surrender of the Vallaisans, who appear to have 
suffered even more than their conquerors. 

But save at times, the relations between Berne and the Vallais 
were friendly. The first alliance between the Bishop of Sion 
and Berne dates back to 1252 ; the connection was very close in 
the early fifteenth century, when both parties desired to get 
hold of the Val d'Ossola; and in 1475 Berne helped the 
Vallaisans to wrest the Lower Vallais from the Duke of Savoy. 


On the other hand, the Vallais looked also towards the Forest 
Cantons, with which, as early as 14 16-17, it made a treaty of 

It is hard to realise the fact, but so it is, that it was not till 
the end of the fourteenth century that the town of Berne got a 
footing in the Alps. When it entered the Confederation in 
1353 it was simply an outpost against Savoy, which was press- 
ing up towards it. But gradually, though steadily, Berne pushed 
back the Savoyards, first freeing Fribourg (1454), and then 
conquering the district of Aigle (1475) ^^^ the bishopric of 
Lausanne and the barony of Vaud (1536), lands which she 
never gave up till 1798, though in 1564 she had to restore 
the Chablais, which, too, had formed part of the conquests 
of 1536. 

More interesting to us, however, is to trace out how Berne 
secured a footing in the Alpine regions to the S.E. of the 
town, which now bear the well-known name of the ' Bernese 

The first step in this direction was the purchase (1334) of the 
imperial fief of Hasle (Meiringen, and the upper reach of the 
Aar valley) from the lords of Weissenburg, to whom the Emperor 
had mortgaged it in 1310-11, but as the mortgage was never 
redeemed by the Empire, Hasle remained Bernese. Next in 
point of date was the purchase of TAuu in 1384 from the last 
representative of the cadet or Laufenburg line of the House of 
Habsburg, to whom it had come as part of the inheritance of 
the Counts of Kyburg. In 1386, during the Sempach war, 
Berne (now a member of the Swiss Confederation) seized the 
town of Unterseen (opposite Interlaken), which had been founded 
in 1280 by the lords of Eschenbach, but sold by them in 1306 
to the Habsburgs. The ambitious town of Berne thus held the 
whole of the Aar valley above it, save the wide domains of the 
great house of Austin Canons at Interlaken (founded about 
1 133). The Eschenbachs had been its ' protectors ' for nearly a 
century, when in 1306 they sold their Oberland estates to the 
Habsburgs, but the latter, though succeeding them in that office 
by 1318, were soon forced to give way before the claims of Berne. 


It was not till 1528, however, that the wealthy monastery of 
Interlaketi was secularised. Then all its domains passed into the 
hands of Berne, which thus secured the rest of the upper Aar 
valley, namely Interlaken, Brienz, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, 
and the villages on the lakes of Brienz and Thun. Long before 
that date Berne had turned its attention to another of the main 
Oberland valleys, that of the Shnine (which is always, till about 
1700, and even now by the natives, named the ' Siebenthal,' not 
because of the seven glens which are said to make it up, but 
because of the seven springs which give rise to the Simme). In 
1386 Berne occupied by force of arms its upper reach (Zwei- 
simmen and Lenk), which had been bought in 1377 from its 
impecunious owners, in 1391 it purchased from its owner the 
lordship of Simmenegg (Boltigen and the middle reach of the 
valley), and by purchase also acquired in two bits (1439 and 
1449) the lowest reach (Weissenburg, Wimmis, Erlenbach) 
of the same valley. Meanwhile the Bernese had not lost 
sight of the third of the great Oberland valleys, that of the 
Kander. This wide-branching valley, forming the lordship of 
Friitigen (and thus including Frutigen, Adelboden, Kandersteg, 
and the Kien valley, with the command of the Gemmi and the 
Lotschen Passes), was purchased in 1400 from the last of the 
lords of La Tour-Chatillon (of whom we spoke above), who had 
obtained it by inheritance early in the fourteenth century, but 
after his expulsion from the Vallais (1375) was getting rid of his 
Oberland possessions as well: in 1395 he had given to the 
monastery of Interlaken the advowson of Frutigen (till the parish 
of Adelboden was formed in 1433 the whole of the Kander 
valley was in the parish of Frutigen), and in the same year had 
sold to the monastery all his serfs, commonly called 'die 
Lotscher,' whether settled in the Lauterbrunnen valley or at 
Brienz. We have mentioned above the conquest (1475) of the 
district of Aigle and (1536) of the barony of Vaud by Berne. In 
1555 it completed its acquisitions near the Oberland by dividing 
with Fribourg the domains of the last count of the Gruyere, 
whose prodigality had plunged him hopelessly into debt. Berne 
then obtained the whole of the Saane or Sarine valley, above 


the Tine gorge (between Montbovon and Rossiniere), but in 
1798 it lost to the Canton du Leman of the Helvetic Republic 
(which in 1803 parted with it to the newly formed Canton of 
Vaud) the French-speaking portion of this valley, that is, the 
' Pays d'En Haut ' (Rossiniere, Chateau d'Oex, and Rougemont) : 
it still holds, however, the upper reach of the valley (Saanen or 
Gessenay), which is very easily gained, over the Saanenmoser 
Pass (4209 ft,), from the upper valley of the Simme, so that 
these two districts were conveniently near together. 

Such is the story of the manner in which Berne became the 
capital of a wide mountain region. 

{b) Uri. — In the whole of Switzerland there is no Canton (unless 
it be the Vallais) which is more securely fenced in by high moun- 
tains on all sides but one, than that of Uri, or the upper valley of 
the Reuss. But possibly because it was the first district within the 
limits of the future Swiss Confederation to obtain practical 
independence by being made immediately dependent on the 
Empire (853), possibly because the wild and barren nature of 
the region did not satisfy the yearnings of its pastoral inhabitants, 
we find that very early it made successful efforts to annex certain 
territories which properly lay in the lands held by their neigh- 
bours. We do not know the precise date at which the magni- 
ficent pastures of the Urnerboden (on the Glarus side of the 
Klausen Pass (6404 ft.) to the E. of Altdorf) were occupied by 
the men of Uri. But it is certain that, before the foundation of 
the Benedictine abbey of Engelberg (about 11 20) the pastures of 
the Blacken Alp, on the Engelberg side of the Surenen Pass 
(7563 ft.), were in the hands of the Uri men, who, in the 
thirteenth century, pushed their limits a good way farther down 
the valley. Hence the visitor to Engelberg (now in Obwalden) 
is considerably surprised at discovering that the frontier of Uri 
begins about one hour's walk up the valley. He would be even 
more surprised to learn (but that he generally does not) that the 
frontier of Nidwalden starts a little below Grafenort, though one 
might at first have imagined that the whole valley of the Engel- 


berger Aa must belong to the Nidwalden division of the Canton 
of Unterwalden, since Stans, its capital, is near the spot where it 
flows into the Lake of Lucerne. This frontier is, however, due 
to causes quite different from those which obtained in the upper 
reach of the Aa valley. In 1798 the Nidwalden men valiantly 
resisted the French army, so that when the Helvetic Republic 
was set up, the territory of the abbats of Engelberg (hitherto 
independent) was annexed to Obwalden as a punishment for the 
Nidwaldners. The latter got the Engelberg region in 1803, but 
lost it finally in 181 6, for in 18 15 they had strongly resisted the 
introduction of the new regime of 1815. 

More important was the incorporation of the Ursern valley 
with Uri. This glen, well known to summer travellers who visit 
Andermatt and one of the three passes (the Furka, the St. Gott- 
hard, and the Oberalp) which give access to it, depended from 
very early times on the Benedictine abbey of Disentis (founded 
about 614 by the Irish monk, Sigisbert, a disciple of St. Colum- 
ban), across the Oberalp Pass and at the head of the Vorder 
Rhine valley. It was later an imperial fief, which till 1283 was 
in the hands of the Counts of Rapperswil, and from 1 299 to 1389 
(though before that date their rights had practically lapsed) in 
those of the Habsburgers. The abbey thenceforward exercised 
all jurisdiction therein, as it had long been the owner of lands, 
etc., in the valley. But the domination of Disentis in Ursern 
was naturally disagreeable to the men of Uri, for they were thus 
shut out from the route to the Vallais over the Furka, and from 
the much-coveted Val Leventina, in the Milanese, over the St. 
Gotthard. Hence in 141 o Uri made a permanent alliance with 
Ursern (the last traces of this more or less dependent condition 
did not disappear till the adoption of the new cantonal constitu- 
tion of 1888), while in 1649 the Ursern men bought up the 
remaining manorial rights of the abbey. Thus Uri secured an 
open gate both towards the Milanese and towards the Vallais. 
One natural consequence of this closer connection between Uri 
and Ursern was that Ursern gradually gave up the Romonsch 
language which had long (though Teutonic traces appear as early 
as 1309) been spoken by its inhabitants, and adopted the High 


German dialect spoken in Uri. But the local names in Ursern 
(originally called Orsera) still retain traces of their Romonsch 
descent, though some persons, at first sight, might attribute them 
to the Italian influence flowing across the St. Gotthard. 

(c) The Grisons. — It is a remarkable fact that the southern- 
most or mountainous portion of the old Roman province 
of Rsetia preserved for a very long series of years the traces 
of Roman civilisation. It included (roughly speaking) the 
modern area now comprised in the Canton of the Grisons 
and in the Vorarlberg (the Tyrol belonged to the Bavarians), 
and its temporal rulers (bearing the Roman title 'Prseses'), 
so late as the seventh and eighth centuries a.d., were 
the Bishops of Coire, who are first mentioned about 452. 
This region seems also to have retained to an extraordinary 
degree its connection with Italy. But early in the ninth 
century it was definitively cut off from Italy and made a part 
of Germany. About 806 Charles the Great erected Rsetia into 
a duchy, which before 847 was transferred from the ecclesi- 
astical province of Milan to that of Mayence (Mainz). In 
916 this duchy was united with that of Alamannia, but, as 
before, was practically divided into an upper portion and a 
lower, ruled by great feudal nobles, whose power grew as that 
of the central authority diminished. But as early as 831 the 
Bishop of Coire secured from the Emperor Louis the Pious 
a charter of exemption from the jurisdiction (save in criminal 
matters) of these counts, similar privileges being then granted 
also to the convent of Pfafers, and sometime after (1048) to 
that of Disentis. These three great ecclesiastical exempt 
jurisdictions considerably stemmed the advance of the feudal 
nobles, especially when in the tenth century the Bishop of 
Coire obtained many fresh privileges and new domains (including 
the Val Bregaglia in 960) from the Emperor Otto i. and his 
successors. As time went on, the Bishop of Coire, with his vast 
power and enormous domains (which were, however, smaller than 
the region over which his purely spiritual jurisdiction extended), 


became a standing danger to his ' men ' and to the neighbouring 
nobles. This danger was increased by the Austrian leanings 
of Bishop Hartmann (1388-1416) and his predecessors, for the 
House of Habsburg in 1363 acquired the county of Tyrol, 
and in 1375 first set foot in the Vorarlberg. Hence in 1367 
the ' League of God's House ' was founded by the bishop's 
subjects (the city of Coire, the Domleschg or Thusis region, 
the Oberhalbstein, towards the Julier Pass, the whole Engadine, 
and the Val Bregaglia), the bishop becoming its head in 1392. 
This was followed in 1395 by the 'Upper League,' often 
wrongly called the 'Grey League,' as it took its name not from 
the grey coats of the leaguers, but from the number of feudal 
counts or 'Grafen' (graven) who entered it: this League 
comprised the exempt jurisdiction of the abbey of Disentis, 
and the nobles of the Vorder Rhine valley, and by 1424 had 
greatly increased its limits. In 1436 the last Count of Toggen- 
burg died, and at once many of his subjects formed the ' League 
of the Ten Jurisdictions ' (Davos, the Prattigau or Landquart 
valley, and the Schanfigg valley), though this League was long 
exposed to strong Austrian pressure. In the course of the 
fifteenth century these Three Leagues drew nearer to each other 
in order to face a common danger (affording a remarkable 
parallel to the history of the rise of the Swiss Confederation 
itself). In 1497 the ' Upper League,' and next year the ' God's 
House League,' became ' allies' of the seven most easterly of the 
ten members of the Swiss Confederation, though the ' Ten 
Jurisdictions ' were then being rapidly seized by Austria, so 
that it could not join in these alliances. Of course this 
accession of strength greatly improved the position of the two 
Leagues, but it also brought to a head the troubles which had long 
been simmering between them and the House of Austria. During 
many years the Counts of the Tyrol had been encroaching on 
the rights of the Bishop of Coire (based on donations in the 
ninth and tenth centuries by the Emperors) in three districts 
— the Lower Engadine, the Vintschgau or upper valley of the 
Adige, and the Miinster valley, a tributary glen of the 
Vintschgau. By 1282 the Lower Engadine was recognised by 


the bishop as being in Tyrol, and to a certain extent the 
Vintschgau also. Of course, when in 1363 the Habsburgers 
succeeded to the Tyrol, they were able to press even harder 
on the infant Leagues. Finally, the Habsburgers, in the person 
of the Emperor Maximilian (who had received Tyrol in 1490 
from the last representative of the cadet branch of his house), 
attacked the Miinster valley in May 1499, desiring to force the 
Rsetian Leagues and also the Swiss Confederation to recognise 
the jurisdiction of the newly created Imperial Chamber as the 
Supreme Imperial Tribunal. But this enterprise was brought 
to nought by the great Swiss and Rfetian victory in the Calven 
gorge (in the lower bit of the Miinster valley), and by the Peace 
of Bale (Sept. 1499) the Emperor had to recognise that the Swiss 
and Rsetian Leagues were practically independent of the Empire, 
and not subject to the Imperial Chamber. But though this 
treaty settled the political matters at issue, the rights of the 
Habsburgers as lords of the manor in the contested districts 
gave rise to many and irritating quarrels. Hence, when by 
the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) the legal independence of the 
Swiss and Raetian Leagues was formally acknowledged by the 
Emperor, it seemed a favourable opportunity for settling the 
other claims as well. Thus the Austrian rights in '' , "Ten 
Jurisdictions' were bought up in 1649-1652, and those in 
the Lower Engadine in 1652, but on the other land, the 
Bishop of Coire formally renounced in 1665 his claims in the 
Vintschgau (which had been practically lost since 1609). All 
rights of the Rstian Leagues in the Miinster valley were 
practically lost after 1526 (when the temporal jurisdiction of 
the Bishop of Coire in the Raetian Leagues was abolished), 
though after protracted negotiations they succeeded formally in 
1762 (practically in 1748) in purchasing the upper portion (above 
Taufers) from Austria, to which it had been sold (with Taufers) 
in 1734 by the Bishop of Coire (a Tyrolese by birth). In 
this way the Swiss regained the command of the Umbrail Pass. 

Thus while the Raetian Leagues, in the case of these con- 
tested territories, obtained the Prattigau, Davos, the Lower 
Engadine, and a part of the Miinster valley, they had to give up 


the Vintschgau, which, after all, is within the natural limits of 
the Tyrol, as the Adige valley is physically quite distinct from 
that of the upper Inn or the Engadine. 

In 1799-1801 the Three Leagues of Rsetia (which, in 1797, 
as mentioned above, had lost their Italian bailiwicks) became 
the Canton of Rsetia in the Helvetic Republic, while in 1803, 
under the name of the Canton of the Grisons or Graubiinden, 
they were admitted full members of the reconstituted Swiss 

But it was only in the early years of the nineteenth century 
that two Austrian islands or 'enclaves' in Rsetia became Swiss 
— those of Tarasp and Rhazuns. 

Tarasp, in the Lower Engadine, had a castle which dominates 
Schuls in the main valley of the Inn, and so is of strategical 
importance. It passed from its local lords into the possession 
of the Bishops of Coire in the twelfth century, but they gave 
it at once to a family which in 1239 sold it to the Count of 
Tyrol (that county was not yet in the hands of the Habsburgers). 
He bestowed it as a fief on the powerful Matsch family, from 
which Sigismund of Austria bought it in 1464. After the 
Lower Engadine had been sold to the R^etian Leagues in 
1652, the Habsburgers alienated (1687) the lordship of Tarasp 
to the Dietrichstein family, which held it till 1801. Then it 
was ceded by Austria at the Peace of Luneville to France, 
which in 1803 gave it to the Swiss Confederation, from 
which it passed, in 1809, to the Canton of the Grisons. Thus 
after passing through many hands Tarasp became at last Swiss, 
but it is no doubt owing to the fact that it was for so long an 
outpost of Tyrol that the parish is now the only one in the 
Lower Engadine that is mainly inhabited by Romanists. 

Rhdzu7is had an even more singular history. The castle 
stands near the junction of the Hinter and of the Vorder 
Rhine, and a little S.W, of Coire, so that it is very important 
from the military point of view. We hear of it already in 960, 
though its lords are first mentioned in 11 39. In 1251 the 
family appears under the name of Brun, and made it the centre 
of its very extensive possessions, acquired by purchase in the 


neighbourhood. The direct male Une of the family became 
extinct in 1458, when Rhazuns passed to the Count of Zollern, 
the nephew of the last lord. The new owners, however, mort- 
gaged it in 1473 (or 1490) to the lord of Marmels (around 
Molins, on the way to the Julier Pass), who exchanged it in 
1497 with Maximilian of Austria for another lordship in Swabia, 
though the mortgage was not bought up by the Habsburgers 
till 1549. But hardly had they finally secured Rhazuns when 
in 1558 they mortgaged the lordship in their turn to the great 
Engadine family of Planta, and in 1586 sold it outright to that 
family, reserving the option of repurchasing it at some future 
date. This option was exercised by the Emperor Leopold i. in 
1695, when the lordship became definitively Austrian, and so a 
great eyesore to the Rsetian Leagues. But by the disastrous Peace 
of Presburg (1805) Napoleon compelled Austria to cede Rhazuns 
to his ally Bavaria, though in 1809 Bavaria was forced to hand 
it over to France. Finally, the Congress of Vienna (1815) made 
over our lordship to the restored Canton of the Orisons, which 
still holds it. It was only actually handed over in 18 19, when 
the fear of Austria and of the Habsburgers passed away for ever. 
Thus by the irony of fate these two Austrian 'enclaves' 
passed through the hands of France before they became Swiss. 
Rhazuns, too, is singular in this respect, that it never belonged 
to the Rsetian Leagues at all, though situated nearly on the 
boundary between the 'Upper League' and the 'League of 
God's House.' 


(From the Reschen Scheideck to the 
Radstadter Tauern) 

(i) The political history of this region of the Alps is all but 
entirely made up of the gradual absorption by the powerful family 
of the Habsburgers of many smaller states and principalities, 
while but little attention need be paid to the varying fortunes 


of the House of Bavaria, whose domains lay N.W. of those of 
the Habsburgers. To us the interesting point of this history 
is that the Habsburgers secured both slopes of all the great 
mountain passes in the Eastern Alps, save the W. slope of the 
Tonale and the Stelvio, which only became Italian in 1859 
(Austria had held them from 18 14 onwards), and the S. slope 
of the Plocken or Monte Croce Pass (held from 1 797-1805 and 
1814-1866), lost in 1866 to Italy. 

In tracing out the rise and growth of the House of Habsburg 
we have to distinguish between at least three phases, which 
may be roughly ticketed as the 'Swiss Phase,' the 'Austrian 
Phase,' and the 'Venetian Phase,' these terms simply serving 
to bring out the characteristic feature of each period in the 
story (so far as regards the Alps) of this, the greatest of still 
reigning Continental royal dynasties. 

A.— The 'Swiss Phase' 

Of course the Habsburgers never ruled (though they remained 
landowners) in any portion of the Swiss Confederation, after it 
had become Swiss. The Habsburgers 'created' the League 
because it came into being to resist them, but, after any par- 
ticular district had become a member of the Confederation, 
the Habsburgers retained no political rights over it, though 
they might continue to be lords of the manor and landowners 
therein. It is desirable to grasp this state of things very clearly, 
for there was a time when the Habsburgers ruled in certain 
regions, now included within the boundaries of Switzerland, 
but that time was before they had entered on the Austrian (or 
more strictly the Tyrolese) phase of their career. 

The Habsburgers began in a small way, first in Upper Alsace 
or the Sundgau (on the left bank of the Rhine), and gradually 
extended their power to the Black Forest. About 1020 one of 
the members of the family, Werner, Bishop of Strassburg, built 
the castle of Habsburg, on a commanding height above the 
lower valley of the Aar, and not very far from the point at 
which that mightiest of Swiss rivers is swollen first by the 


Reuss and soon after by the Limmat or Linth. This castle- 
building shows that the family must have then struck root in 
the Aargau. In 1 1 24 its head appears to be (as he certainly 
is in 1 1 35) the ruler (landgrave) of Upper Alsace, though he 
then takes his title of count (which occurs first in 1114) not 
from the Sundgau, but from his Argovian castle of Habsburg. 
In 1 1 73, on the extinction of the Counts of Lenzburg (whose 
castle rises a little to the S. of that of Habsburg), our family 
succeeded them in the countship of the Ziirichgau. But it was 
not till 1264 that the inheritance of the Lenzburgs in lands, 
etc., came (by a lucky marriage, the first recorded of many 
such) to the Habsburgers, for it had previously to pass through 
the hands of the Counts of Kyburg (the castle of this name is 
S. of Winterthur). This huge accession of wealth raised the 
Habsburgers to the first rank among the various feudal lord- 
lings who were then struggling for supremacy in what now form 
the northern and central portions of Switzerland. This position, 
and the soldier-like qualities of the then head of the house, 
Rudolf, helped, with other causes, to bring about his election as 
Emperor in 1273, while in 1282 the Habsburgers for the first 
time came into possession of Austria. No doubt such further 
accessions of power and dignity induced Rudolf to attempt to 
increase his territories in what may be called his native 
land — what was later to be central Switzerland. In a preceding 
section we have noted how his purchase of Lucerne (April 16, 
1 291) was followed by his death (July 15) and the formation of 
the first Everlasting League (August i). It was high time indeed 
that some stop should be put to the rapid and ever-advancing 
progress of the Habsburgers. A glance at an historical atlas will 
show that about 131 5 the Habsburgers ruled over a huge band of 
land in Central Switzerland, which extended from the W. shore 
of the Lake of Constance, in a S.W. direction, leaving the 
imperial city Zurich on the E., and that of Berne on the W., but 
taking in Lucerne, as well as the Entlebuch to its S. ; it 
included, besides, Thun and the upper valley of the Aar (save 
Hasle), that is, the chief valleys of the Bernese Oberland, 
which really belonged to the house of Austin Canons of Inter- 


laken, of which the Habsburgers became 'protectors' in 13 18 
for a few years, when Berne succeeded them. It is in one 
of these valleys, that of Grindelwald, that these lines are being 
written on a bit of land, named Diirrenberg, which belonged to 
the Habsburgers as late as 1331, when they parted with it to the 
Canons, But before that date the Habsburger power in Central 
Switzerland had begun to wane. The battle of Morgarten (13 15) 
secured the Three Lands of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden from 
any further political dangers at the hands of the Habsburgers, 
while in 1332 Lucerne, on its entrance into the League (though 
the Entlebuch was only bought in 1405 by Lucerne from the 
Habsburgers), was lost to the family. In 1384 Thun and Burg- 
dorf were purchased by Berne from the cadet line of the House 
of Habsburg, and in 1386 the victory of Sempach struck a further 
blow at Habsburg power, while in 1388 that of Nafels secured 
Glarus to the Confederation, as well as Zug (both had entered 
it in 1352). The Aargau (including the ancestral castle) was 
lost in 14 1 5 to the Confederation as a whole or to Berne 
alone, in 1452 the county of Kyburg was seized by Ziirich, in 
1458 that of Rapperswil successfully sought the protection 
(definitively given in 1464) of four members of the Confedera- 
tion, in 1460 the rich plains of the Thurgau were wrested by the 
Confederation from the once powerful family, and finally in 
1467 the town of Winterthur was sold to Zurich. Of their 
ancient possessions in what is now Switzerland the Habsburgs 
retained the Frick valley (S. of Laufenburg, on the Rhine) till 
1801, when it was given to France, which ceded it in 1802 to 
Switzerland. We have noted above the fortunes of the two 
islands (acquired by the Habsburgers in 1464 and 1497 respec- 
tively) of Tarasp and Rhazuns in the Orisons, as well as the 
later sales of the Prattigau (1649- 165 2) and the Lower Engadine 
(1652), though these properly belonged to the 'Austrian' phase 
of the Habsburgers. 

Thus by 1500 the Habsburgers had practically passed out 
of and beyond their ' Swiss ' phase, their course having since 
1273 been set eastwards from their old home, a curious parallel 
to the story of the House of Savoy. But, as we shall see 


presently, the acquisition of the Tyrol (1363) and of the 
Vorarlberg (1375-1394) seems to indicate an advance back 
towards the west (that is, towards the Swiss Confederation), 
though this advance is but faintly outlined, and was checked 
for good in 1499 by the battle of the Calven gorge. 

B. — The 'Austrian Phase' 

In order to explain how the Habsburgers got ' Austria ' it is 
necessary to consider, as briefly as possible, the pre-Habsburger 
history of the Alpine lands which are roughly included under 
the term of ' Austria.' 

In 788 Charles the Great incorporated the territory of the 
Baioarii into his Empire. It later formed part of the East 
Prankish kingdom^ but early in the tenth century we find that 
it was governed by a set of native and most unruly dukes, who 
were practically sovereign, and at best nominally subject to 
the German kings. Even Otto i., powerful as he was, did not 
venture to do more than hand over (948) the duchy to his own 
brother, whom he had married to a daughter of the native duke. 
But troubles still prevailed in the duchy, first between the new 
dynasty and the old one, then between the new dynasty (which 
became more Irish than the Irish) and the German kings. 
Finally, Otto 11., in and about 976, introduced great changes as 
to the Bavarian duchy and its holders, for it had become very 
unwieldy, as it extended from the Lech to the Leitha, E. of 
Vienna, thus including practically the whole of the Eastern 
Alps. The duchy itself was given to Otto's nephew and friend. 
Otto, Duke of Swabia. But this new duchy had been shorn 
of its fair proportions by the creation of a set of ' marks ' or 
' marchlands ' (border-lands) on the N., the E., and the S. 
We need not trouble ourselves here with the North Mark, which 
has nothing to do with the Alps, and was an outpost against the 
Bohemians. More important to us is the erection of Carinthia, 
or the South Mark, into a separate duchy, to which was annexed 
the Mark of Verona, that had belonged to the great Bavarian 
duchy since 952, when it had been taken from the kingdom of 


Italy, after the defeat of King Berengar ii. Further, the lands 
to the E. of the old Bavarian duchy, which had been won from 
the Magyars in 955 by the battle on the Lech, were separated 
from the Bavarian duchy, and made into the East Mark — the 
future ' Austria' in the strict sense. These two new ' Marks ' or 
outposts against the Magyars on the E. were put (976) by Otto 
into safe hands, Carinthia and Verona going to Henry, the son 
of a former Bavarian duke, and husband of Willetrud, Otto 11. 's 
first cousin, while the East Mark was committed to the charge 
of Leopold of Babenberg, brother of the Berchtold who ruled 
in the North Mark (the two brothers being special favourites 
of Otto II.). The diminished duchy of Bavaria thus stretched, 
from 976 onwards, only from the Lech to the sources of the 
Enns and of the Mur ; its mountainous districts (which alone 
concern us here) thus included the whole of the future Tyrol 
and Salzburg, as well as the E. bit of the Bavarian Highlands. 

Now, in course of time, all these districts (save the North 
Mark and the Bavarian Highlands) came into the hands of the 
Habsburgers. In order to make a rather complicated series of 
events as clear as possible to my readers, it will be most con- 
venient to consider them briefly under three heads — first, the 
East Mark, as that gave the name of House of Austria to the 
Habsburgers ; then the South Mark, or Carinthia (with its 
satellites of Carniola and Styria) ; and finally the Tyrolese, or 
S. portion of the Bavarian duchy (as constituted in 976), which 
will lead us on naturally to the story of the Bavarian Highlands, 
or the N. half of that reconstituted duchy. 

{a) The East Mark, or Austria (Oesterreich). — Leopold of 
Babenberg had already, in 974, received from Otto 11. the 
government of the East Mark, but in 976 he seems to have 
obtained increased power, and independence of the duchy of 
Bavaria, though some writers hold that for yet a while the 
Bavarian Dukes had some sort of undefined supremacy over the 
East Mark. This, however, disappeared in course of time, and 
the Babenberg dynasty (which takes its name from a castle near 


Bamberg, the name of that town being a mere variation of that 
of the castle) ruled in the East Mark, with varying fortunes, till 
the extinction of the male line in 1246. It seems odd nowa- 
days to associate with Austria any name other than that of the 
Habsburgers, but they, with their usual good fortune, simply 
entered upon other men's labours, gaining all the profit and 
advantage, without much trouble to themselves. In 1156 
Austria was raised to the rank of a duchy (it became an arch- 
duchy only long afterwards, in 1453), while in 1192 (by an 
arrangement made in 1186) the Mark oi Styria (Steiermark) — 
which in 1035 had been cut off from Carinthia, and in 1056 had 
come to the Counts of Steier, or Steyr, a castle near the junction 
of the river of that name with the Enns — was inherited by the 
Babenbergers on the extinction of the male line of its rulers, 
who had assumed the title of duke in 11 80. After the failure 
of the male line of the Babenbergers in 1246, a time of confusion 
followed, as the last duke left only a sister. The Emperor 
Frederick 11. ruled in Austria from 1246 till his death at the 
close of 1250, when the land was occupied (12 51) by the 
Slavonic prince, Ottakar, who, in 1253, succeeded his father as 
king of Bohemia, and became the second husband, in 1252 
(her first had been Frederick's son, Henry), of Margaret, the 
only surviving sister of the last Babenberger. It was not, how- 
ever, till 1 259-1 260 that Ottakar was able to wrest Styria (save a 
bit in its N. region, the Plittner Mark, which had been got in 
1254 from Hungary by Austria) from Bela iv., the Magyar king 
of Hungary. In 1269 Ottakar, by virtue of an arrangement, 
succeeded, on the extinction of the male line of its dukes, to 
the duchy of Carinthia (Karnthen), as well as to the county of 
Carniola (Krain), which, practically cut off from Carinthia about 
1040, had had to struggle for its independence against the 
Patriarchs of Aquileia, and the Bishops of Brixen and Freising : 
the last duke-count (who had won the day against the Patriarchs 
in 1261 and died in 1269) had married the divorced wife of the 
last of the Babenbergers, and had instituted Ottakar as his 

Thus Ottakar had got into his hands a number of provinces 


(Austria in 1251, Styria in 1 259-1 260, Carinthia and Carniola in 
1269), while in 1253 he had inherited the kingdom of Bohemia 
as well as Moravia from his father. His position was there- 
fore very threatening to the German lands to the W., for though 
his dominions lay between them and the Magyar kingdom of 
Hungary, yet Ottakar was the head of a Slavonic power, and so 
was a menace to Western Europe. The fear of this powerful 
monarch was one of the main reasons which brought about 
the election of Rudolf of Habsburg in 1273 to the Empire, and 
this choice was soon justified. Already in 1276 Ottakar (who 
had been Rudolf's rival for the imperial crown in 1273) was 
forced to renounce his domains of Austria, Styria, Carinthia, 
and Carniola in favour of Rudolf, and to consent to hold 
Bohemia and Moravia as fiefs from the Empire. But Ottakar 
could not bring himself to give up finally his splendid realm 
without a further struggle, in which, however, he was defeated in 
the battle of the Marchfeld, near Vienna (1278), losing his life 
as well as his dominions. He had thus prepared the way for 
the Habsburgers, who, by this victory, became the practical as 
well as nominal kings of Germany, to which, too, they had 
brought a vast accession of territory, wrung from the advancing 
Slavonic race, though henceforth to remain both German and 
Austrian. But Rudolf did not long keep these conquered 
lands in his own hands, for in 1282 he invested his two sons 
(in 1283 he gave all to the elder) with the lands he had won 
for Germany. However, in order to satisfy a powerful neighbour 
(of whom we shall have to speak again presently), Meinhard 11., 
Count of the Tyrol, who had helped much to defeat Ottakar, 
and whose daughter, Elisabeth, had in 1276 married Rudolf's 
son and successor, Albert, Rudolf had in 1286 to give him 
Carinthia and Carniola, stipulating, however, that should 
Meinhard's male posterity ever fail, the Habsburgers were to 
have the right of succession. This event took place in 1335, 
on the death of Henry, Meinhard's son, so that Albert 11., 
Albert of Habsburg's son (he himself had been murdered in 
1308) then added these lands permanently to the Habsburgers' 
inheritance of Austria and Styria. 


(i>) The South Mark, or CarintMa. — It was simpler to speak 
of the fortunes of this district from 1269 to 1335 i^ the preced- 
ing section, as during that period it was becoming ' Austrian ' or 
part of the Habsburger inheritance. But in order to complete 
our account we must sketch briefly the history of this South 
Mark from 976 to 1269. 

In 976, as we have seen, this Mark, raised to the rank of 
a duchy and united with the Mark of Verona, was cut off from 
the old duchy of Bavaria, though it was twice reunited with it 
for short intervals before 1002, when it was finally separated 
from it. It passed through many hands in the course of the 
eleventh century, mainly those of local rulers, save the Emperor 
Conrad 11. (1036-9). But during that century it had been cut 
short in many directions. Styria had parted off in 1035, and 
Carniola about 1040, while by the time of the death of Otto 11. 
(983) the temporal powers of rhe Patriarchs of Aquileia had so 
increased that they had become masters of the E. portion (the 
history of the W. portion will be sketched below under 
Section C, The 'Venetian Phase'), which gradually acquired 
the name of Friuli. Hence the name of Markgraf of Verona 
was a mere empty title when in 1061 it came to the House of 
Zaringen, and from it to that of Baden. Meanwhile the duchy 
of Carinthia itself had passed through the local dynasties of 
Eppenstein (1012-1122) and Sponheim (1122-1269). By 1261 
the last duke had established his independence as against the 
Patriarchs of Aquileia, and on his death (1269) his dominions 
(which included Carniola by virtue of his marriage with the 
widow of the last of the Babenbergers, d. 1246), passed by 
virtue of his testament to Ottakar, king of Bohemia, whence 
they came (as above noted) first in 1278, then 1282-6, and 
finally in 1335 to the Habsburgers. 

(c) The Tyrol. — The half-ruined castle of Tyrol still stands 
on the heights to the N.W. of Meran, in the upper valley of the 
Adige or the Vintschgau. But it is not till about 1140 that we 


first hear of ' a count of the Tyrol.' These counts became the 
heirs of other feudal lords the power of which had gradually 
grown up in the S. portion of the Bavarian duchy of 976. In 1027 
the Emperor Conrad 11. took a step which decided the future 
fortunes of this region — he granted all temporal powers in the 
district S. of the Brenner Pass, in the neighbourhood of Botzen, 
and in the Vintschgau (that is, in the whole of the upper Adige 
valley from a short distance below the town of Trent), to the 
Bishop of Trent (the see dates from the early fifth century), 
who thus obtained a very great position, while practically his wide 
lands then ceased to be Italian, and became part of the German 
kingdom. At the same date Conrad conferred similar temporal 
jurisdiction, in the Eisack valley (just S. of the Brenner Pass) and 
in the Inn valley (N. of that pass), on the Bishop of Brixen (the 
see had been founded at the end of the eighth century at Saben, 
on the cliffs above the Eisack valley, some way below the town 
of Brixen, to which it was transferred about 992). These two 
bishops thus kept guard over the great highway of the Brenner 
Pass, by far the most important in the Eastern Alps. But the 
bishops themselves could not exercise in person the extensive 
temporal rights which had been conferred upon them. They 
sought lay nobles to whom to intrust their responsibilities. For 
the N. portion of his realm the Bishop of Trent selected his 
'protectors,' the Counts of the Tyrol (first mentioned in 1140), to 
whom also the Bishop of Brixen committed the Eisack valley; the 
Bishop of Brixen chose the Count of Andechs (a castle S.W. of 
Munich), who was the ' protector ' of the bishopric, and besides 
already possessed many estates in the region subject to the 
bishop. The family of Andechs held, in particular, the Inn 
valley, just above Innsbruck, and in 1152 received from the 
bishop that portion of the same valley which is around Inns- 
bruck. Through an heiress they obtained about 11 70 the 
marquessate of Istria, while their ever-increasing lands in those 
parts won them about 1180 the dignity of Dukes of Merania 
(that is, of the coast-land, near the sea or ' mare,' the name 
having nothing to do with the town of Meran). The House of 
Andechs became extinct in the male line in 1248, when its Inn 


and Eisack valley fiefs reverted to the Bishop of Brixen. Now 
the last of the Andechs line had married Elisabeth, the younger 
daughter of Albert i., Count of the Tyrol, and so naturally the 
bishop granted to the Count of the Tyrol the fiefs which had just 
fallen vacant. Until then, and for some time yet, there is not 
the slightest connection between the Tyrol and the Habsburgers, 

Albert i., Count of the Tyrol. 

Inh. the Tyrol, 1253, 

d. 1275. 
m. Meinhard l. 
Count of Gbrz, 
d. 1258. 

Meinhard ii. 
d. 1295. 


d- 1335. 

m. Anne of 


d. 1369. 


Meinhard hi., 

d. 1363. 

Albert ii. 

(Gorz), d. 1304, 

Inh. 1500 by the 


(i) Otto, last of 
the Andechs 
(2) Gebhard ii., 
Count of 

Gebhard hi. 


m., 1276, Albert i. 

of Habsburg. 

Albert il, 

Inh. Carinthia, 1335, 
d. 1358. 


Rudolf iv., 

Inh. the Tyrol, 


though their turn is coming soon. Elisabeth's elder sister, 
Adelaide, had married Meinhard i. , Count of Gorz, a land far 
away to the S., and a little N. of Trieste and Aquileia. Adelaide 
brought (1253) the Tyrol to her husband (as she and her 
sister were the co-heiresses of their father), who also obtained in 
1284 the Inn valley from the sole child of Elisabeth. On the 
death of Meinhard i. (1258) his two sons divided his territories; 


the elder, Meinhard ii. (who in 1284 obtained the Inn valley 
from the only child of Elisabeth, and in 1286 the duchy of 
Carinthia and county of Carniola from Rudolf of Habsburg, as 
a reward for help at the battle of the Marchfeld in 1278 against 
Ottakar, king of Bohemia), took the Tyrol ; while his younger 
brother, Albert, succeeded to the county of Gorz (as we shall 
see later, on the failure of this Albert's line, Gorz came to 
the heirs of the elder line, in 1500, and those heirs were the 
Habsburgers). Now Meinhard 11. had two children with whom 
we have to do. The son, Henry, married Anne, the grand- 
daughter of Ottakar 11., and so became king of Bohemia for a 
short time (1307-13 10), while Meinhard's daughter, Elisabeth, 
married Albert of Habsburg (Rudolf's son). Henry's only child 
was Margaret, known as ' Margaret Pocket Mouth ' (Maul- 
tasch), who succeeded her father on his death (1335) in the 
county of the Tyrol, while the duchy of Carinthia passed to 
the Habsburgers, in the person of Albert's son, who was 
Margaret's first cousin. Margaret had two husbands, but only 
a single child (Meinhard iii.), on whose death in 1363 (after a 
reign of two years) a struggle seemed imminent for the succession 
to his domains. But only two weeks after her son's death, 
Margaret solemnly promised the Habsburgers (to whom, in 
1359, she had bequeathed her domains, in case of the extinction 
of her line) that they should have her realms at her death, and 
that till then she would reign in their name. She at the same 
time ordered her subjects to swear allegiance to the Habs- 
burgers. But they still feared that they might lose the splendid 
prize. Hence later in 1363 they put pressure on Margaret to 
abdicate, and (in return for the cession of certain places for the 
rest of her life, and a pension) she gave way to their importun- 
ities. She retired to Vienna, and there ended her days in 
1369, at the age of 51 years. 

One can easily understand the longing of the Habsburgers 
for the Tyrol. Its topographical position astride the Alps, and 
commanding both sides of the principal pass in the region, 
gave to its masters an enormous influence, and enabled them 
to block, at will, the direct route from Germany to Italy, Of 


Margaret's two husbands the former had belonged to the power- 
ful House of Luxemburg, which held the Empire from 13 12 
to 1437, with two short breaks (1328-1347 and 1400-1410), as 
well as Bohemia from 13 10 to 1457 : the second was a member 
of a not less powerful Bavarian house, which held the Empire 
from 1328 to 1347 (in the person of Margaret's father-in-law), 
and whose domains were uncomfortably near those of the 
Habsburgers. The possession of the Tyrol also enabled the 
Habsburgers to make an attempt to advance back towards the 
W. towards their original homes. That scheme was (as we 
have noted above) stopped in 1499 by the Swiss victory at the 
battle of the Calven gorge. But it had been more dangerous 
than might appear at first sight, for in 1375 the Habsburgers 
had bought Feldkirch in the Rhine valley from the Counts of 
Montfort, and in 1394 Bludenz and the Montafon valley from 
the Counts of Werdenberg, while in 145 1 and 1523 they acquired 
the county of Bregenz from the Werdenberg family. All these 
acquisitions (which are commonly grouped under the name of 
the Vorarlberg) meant the command of the Arlberg Pass, lead- 
ing directly from Innsbruck to the Rhine valley at Feldkirch, 
thus at once threatening St. Gall, Appenzell, and Coire. Here 
the danger to the Swiss Confederation and its allies was averted 
in 1405 by the glorious victory of the Stoss (in Appenzell, on 
the heights by which one goes from Altstatten in the Rhine 
valley to Appenzell and St. Gall): in 141 1 Appenzell, and in 
1454 St. Gall, were received as 'allies' of the Swiss Con- 
federation ; the Thurgau (to their N.W.) conquered from the 
Habsburgers in 1460, and Winterthur acquired in 1467. 
Towards the S. of Feldkirch the situation was secured (as we 
have already shown) by the gradual formation of the Three 
Rstian Leagues (1367, 1395, and 1436), while the purchase 
of all remaining Habsburger rights in the Prattigau (just S. of 
the Montafon valley) in 1649- 165 2, and in the Lower Engadine 
in 1652, made the Swiss Confederation quite secure against its 
old foe. He had long pressed it on the N. and the E., and had 
renewed his attacks (think of Morgarten in 13 15, of Sempach 
in 1386, and of Nafels in 1388) after he had vastly increased 


his power by the acquisition of these wide lands of ' Austria ' 
— namely Austria proper, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, and the 
Tyrol, while he had held the imperial crown from 1273 onwards, 
save between 1308 and 1438. 

More success attended the efforts of the Habsburgers to 
estabHsh their sole rule in the Tyrol. These took place chiefly 
in the reign of Maximilian (Emperor from 1493 to 1519, and 
grandfather of Charles v.). In 1500 he succeeded to the county 
of Gorz by virtue of an arrangement made with the last counts, 
his kinsmen. This inheritance meant far more than the mere 
addition of that county to his domains, for the counts held also 
the whole of the Pusterthal from Lienz to near the Eisack valley, 
above Brixen. Now the Pusterthal offers the direct route from 
Carinthia to the Brenner road, and it commands the Ampezzo 
Pass leading S. from Toblach towards Venice. Hence the 
possession of this region by another family (even if connected 
by ties of blood) was very inconvenient for the Habsburgers, 
who, without it, were debarred from all communications between 
Carinthia and the Brenner route, save by a huge detour towards 
N. round the snowy crest of the Tauern and Zillerthal Alps, or 
by another, even more roundabout, to the S. of the Dolomites. 
These two lofty ranges enclose the Pusterthal on the N. and 
the S. respectively, and thus enhance its importance as the great 
highway from Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria, to the true and 
original Tyrol, to the middle Inn valley, and to the upper Adige 
and Eisack valleys. 

In 1505 (formally in 1507) Maximilian made other acquisitions 
in the Tyrol, this time from the House of Bavaria, which had 
been torn by a disputed succession. These included the fortress 
and the lordship of Kufstein, as well as the lordships of Kitzbiihel, 
and of Rattenberg, with the Bavarian portion of the Zillerthal. 
These districts had belonged to Margaret Maultasch in right 
of her second husband, and had been handed over to her on 
her abdication, with reversion to the House of Bavaria. Hence 
Maximilian was only too eager to secure them, after they had 
once so narrowly missed his family, for, lying to the N.E. 
and E. of Innsbruck, they command the exit from Innsbruck 


towards the plains. Now the Habsburgers had the whole of 
the routes over the Brenner and over the Arlberg in their own 
hands, while the Tyrolese frontier towards the N.E. was also 
well secured against those troublesome Bavarian neighbours. 

As we have noted more than once, Maximilian was unsuccess- 
ful (1499) in his attempt to extend the power of his house 
towards the W. But to his successes towards the E. (1500) 
and the N.E. (1505) he added others to the S., which naturally 
carry us on to the third great phase through which the history 
of the Habsburgers in the Alps has passed. 

C. — The 'Venetian Phase' 

The old Mark of Verona, which in 952 had been separated 
from Italy in order to be united to the duchy of Bavaria, and 
in 976 was transferred to that of Carinthia, had by the eleventh 
century been shorn of its fair proportions (it originally stretched 
from the Lake of Garda to the Isonzo). On the W. the 
bishopric of Trent had in 1027 been cut off from Italy to form 
an ecclesiastical principality, which was politically German, 
while on the E. the Patriarch of Aquileia had succeeded in 
establishing his power over Friuli as a temporal ruler. The 
central portion of the old Mark therefore was all that remained 
(its S. bit gradually took the more modest name of March of 
Treviso), and practically again became a part of Italy and no 
longer of Germany. The Alpine portions of this remnant of 
the old Mark of Verona passed, after the final break-up of the 
Empire in 1250, into the possession of the Scala family of 
Verona, which extended their rule to Vicenza, Belluno, Feltre, 
etc., so that by the early fourteenth century they were practically 
supreme in these parts. But this predominance was threatened 
on the S.E. by the Carraras of Padua, and on the W. by the 
Visconti of Milan. In 1388 the Scala rule (which had lasted 
about one hundred and tnirty years) came to an end, the domains 
of that family passing to the Visconti, who tricked the Carraras 
out of the share promised to them. But after the death of Gian 
Galeazzo Visconti in 1402 the power of his family was broken 


for a time. The Carraras at once seized on Verona. But this 
excited the jealousy of the great state which had been steadily 
increasing in influence and authority in these regions, and 
was soon to swallow up all these striving families. In 1339 
Venice had set foot on the mainland by its acquisition of 
Treviso and the March of that name. Now, in the struggle 
following Gian Galeazzo's death, it saw its opportunity, and it 
must be said that the Venetians made good use of the chance 
offered to them. In 1404 they occupied Vicenza and the 
neighbouring region of Belluno aud Feltre (which from the 
tenth century had been governed by their bishops till these 
were replaced in 132 1-2 by the Scala family), while in 1405 
they laid hands upon Verona also. It is true that Belluno 
and Feltre were lost in 141 1 to Sigismund, king of Hungary,' 
(the later Emperor), but they were won again in 1420, and 
henceforth formed part of the Venetian dominions. Stimulated 
by these first successes, Venice brought under her rule the 
whole of Friuli (1418-1420), the Patriarchs of Aquileia being 
obliged to content themselves henceforth with being spiritual 
princes. Next, in 1426, Venice pushed on to the W., and 
occupied Brescia, while in 1428 she added Bergamo and its 
region. Her rule thus extended from the lower course of the 
Adda to near the course of the Isonzo. 

To us who are paying special attention to the history of the 
Alps, the most interesting point about these conquests by 
Venice is how they affected some of the villages in the Eastern 
Alps which, of late, have become well known to travellers — 
such as Primiero, Caprile, and Cortina d'Ampezzo, two of which 
are Austrian (Tyrolese) at present, while Caprile alone is Italian. 

Primiero long belonged to the Bishops of Feltre, but the 
discovery of iron mines near by led many persons to try to 
secure it for themselves, as lords under the suzerainty of the 
bishops. In 1355 the Emperor Charles iv. erected Primiero 
into a separate lordship, which passed (with Feltre) in 1363 to 
the Carraras of Padua. In 1373 this family ceded it (with 
Feltre) to the Habsburgers, who had recently become Counts of 
the Tyrol. However, in 1384 the new owners gave back Feltre 


(as we saw above it became Venetian in 1404) to the Carraras, 
but reserved the lordship of Primiero, which was thus cut off 
from Feltre, and became part of the Tyrol. In 1401 they 
granted the district (with the stronghold of Castello della Pietra, 
destroyed by fire in 1675, the ruins being now inaccessible save 
by employing artificial means) to their chamberlain, George of 
Welsperg, whose descendants exercised jurisdiction there till 
1827, and still inhabit the region. Such is the way in which 
Primiero became Tyrolese, though one would naturally have 
expected it to become Venetian, and so Italian. 

Caprile, however, did become Venetian, and later Italian. 
It has always formed part of the district of Agordo, which 
belonged for centuries to the Bishop of Belluno (this see was 
united with that of Feltre in 1197, separated from it in 1462, 
and reunited to it in 181 8). In the course of time the bishop's 
power became enfeebled, and he was replaced by a rapid 
succession of lords till in 1360 the district came to the Carraras 
of Padua. It was in the hands of the Habsburgers (as Counts 
of the Tyrol) from 1384 to 1386, but was lost (with all their 
lands) by the Carraras in 1388 to the Visconti. They held it 
till 1402, and in 1404 Agordo, with Caprile, was taken by the 
Venetians at the same time as Belluno and Feltre. The 
Tyrolese frontier is, of course, only a little way from Caprile at 
the present day, because the upper portion of the Cordevole 
valley (called Buchenstein) belonged to the Bishop of Brixen 
(that is, to the Tyrol), and so has had a history entirely different 
from those of Caprile and of Agordo. 

The case of Cortifia and the Ampezzo valley is utterly dis- 
similar. In 1500 the Habsburgers inherited, as part of the 
county of Gorz, the Pusterthal, and so Toblach, with the valley 
running up S. to the Ampezzo Pass. The other side of the 
pass (with, therefore, complete command of the great highway 
from the Tyrol to Venice) was occupied for a while in 1509, 
though only definitively acquired in 15 17, forming part of the 
spoils won by Maximilian of Habsburg from Venice (which, in 
1420 had taken it from Aquileia, to whom it had belonged since 
1335) at the end of the war of the League of Cambray. 


Hence it is that though Primiero, Caprile, and Cortina are 
all on the S. slope of the Alpine chain, and so might be 
expected to be all now Italian, and Venetian in the past, this 
is really the case with Caprile alone, for Primiero was never 
Venetian, and Cortina was early lost to Venice. Yet, as every 
traveller in the Dolomites knows, the political frontier passes, 
to this day, quite close to all three spots, for by an historical 
accident two of them belong to a German-speaking state, though 
in each Italian is the mother-tongue of the inhabitants. 

An early conquest of Venetian territory by the Habsburgers 
was that of the lower Val Sugana (which joins, at Primolano, 
the Primiero valley), taken by them in 141 3, though nominally 
held till 1670 under the suzerainty of the Bishop of Feltre. 
Besides Ampezzo, Maximilian in 15 17 obtained from Venice 
(he had occupied them in 1509) the towns of Roveredo and 
Ala (later, in 1576, given to the Bishop of Trent, when the 
Habsburgers formally acknowledged the temporal ' principality of 
Trent '), together with some neighbouring villages, all S. of Trent 
in the Adige valley. These acquisitions of 15 17, together with 
Ampezzo valley and the Val Sugana, were formed (15 18) into 
a district named the ' welsche Confinien ' or ' Confinen ' (that 
is, the Italian-speaking border-lands). It was annexed to the 
Tyrol (not to the bishopric of Trent, which, till 1803, was not 
formally subject to the Habsburgers), and formed a sort of 
' buffer ' region between the German-speaking Tyrol and the 
Italian-speaking domains of Venice. It should, too, be borne 
in mind that at that time the Trentino was not nearly as 
Italianised as it is at present. From 1027 onward it had formed 
a part of Germany, not of Italy, while Felix Faber, a German 
pilgrim who visited the city of Trent in 1483, tells us that then 
the lower city was purely German in character. 

But these acquisitions by the Habsburgers at the cost of 
Venice represent but nibblings at the long-coveted Venetian 
dominions. By the Treaty of Campoformio (1797) Napoleon 
(or, strictly speaking, the French Republic) put an end to the 
independent existence of Venice as a sovereign state. The 
western portion of her territory, W. of the lower Adige 


(Bergamo and Brescia), was then annexed to the Cisalpine 
Republic (which in 1805 became the kingdom of Italy, under 
Napoleon himself), while the eastern portion (including the 
Bellunese and Friuli, with Venice itself) was handed over to 
the Habsburgers. But in 1805, at the Peace of Pressburg, the 
Habsburgers lost these rich plains, which were annexed to 
the kingdom of Italy. However, in 18 15 they recovered the 
districts lost in 1805, and received, for the first time, the western 
portion (Bergamo and Brescia) of the Venetian state, so that 
they now held the whole of the Venetian dominions. This 
accession of territory completed (for by that time, as we shall 
see presently, they had also obtained the secularised bishopric 
of Trent), their occupation (1814-1859) of the entire region of 
the Eastern Alps, including both slopes of all the great Alpine 
passes included therein. The Italian possessions of the 
Habsburgers in N. Italy (the Milanese and the Veneto) were 
joined together in the ' Lombardo-Venetian kingdom.' But 
in 1859 the Milanese, and the western portion (Bergamo and 
Brescia) of the Veneto, were lost to the king of Sardinia (in 
1 86 1 to become the king of United Italy), while in 1866 the 
rest of the Veneto was handed over to the new kingdom of 
Italy. Thus ended the ' Venetian Phase ' of the history of 
the Habsburgers. They kept only the bishopric of Trent, and 
the ' welsche Confinien,' a mere fragment of their territories 
between 1814 and 1859. It should be noted too that in 1866 
the districts ceded by Austria were precisely those formerly 
held by Venice. That is the historical reason why such 
Italian spots as Aquileia, and Gorz, and (to a certain extent) 
Trieste, are still Austrian, and have not become Italian, 
forming (with the Trentino) what is called ' Italia Irredenta,' 
though, strictly speaking, for many centuries no part of these 
regions has been in Italy. 

The loss in 1859 of the Bergamasca meant the loss by the 
Habsburgers of the W. slope of the Tonale Pass (leading from 
Trent to the head of the Val Camonica, or the Oglio valley). 
In the same year they also lost to Italy the Valtelline, with 
Bormio and Chiavenna (in short, the upper valley of the Adda), 


which they had received in 1815 (these districts, lost to the 
Grisons in 1797, had belonged, first to the Cisalpine Republic, 
and then to the Napoleonic kingdom of Italy). Thus they 
lost not merely the W. slope of the Stelvio Pass (from the 
Tyrol to the Valtelline), over which the Austrian Govern- 
ment had constructed, 1820-5, a magnificent carriage road, 
the highest (9055 ft.) in the Alps, to connect two bits of their 
dominions, but also both sides of the Aprica Pass (3875 ft.), 
a low and very easy pass (traversed by a carriage road) which 
leads from the head of the Val Camonica to the Valtelline. 

With these two partial exceptions, and the S. slope of the 
Plocken or Monte Croce Pass (4462 ft., from Carinthia to Friuli), 
lost in 1866, the Habsburgers still hold all the great Alpine 
passes in the Eastern Alps, so that our scheme of considering 
that the political history of the Eastern Alps is but a portion of 
that of the Habsburgers is fully justified. 

The Alpine Lands of the Habsburgers during the Napoleonic 

Era. — During the few but terrible years that extend from 1803 
to 18 14 the lot of the Habsburgers, in their hereditary Alpine 
lands (we have mentioned the fortunes of the Veneto above) 
was a very chequered one. In 1801, indeed, they had been 
forced to hand over to France the lordship of Tarasp in the 
Lower Engadine (which France transferred in 1803 to the 
Swiss Confederation), but in 1803 they had gained an 
enormous accession of territory — the secularised bishoprics of 
Trent and Brixen (of which the lands had so long formed 
' enclaves ' in their Tyrolese possessions) as well as the arch- 
bishopric of Salzburg (including the secularised priory of Austin 
Canons at Berchtesgaden, founded in 1108): it was founded 
in the sixth century and had been a metropolitan see since 798, 
but was now secularised and made into a new electorate for 
the Emperor's brother, the Archduke Ferdinand (formerly 
from 1 79 1 to 1 80 1 Grand Duke of Tuscany). 

But they paid bitterly for their short and disastrous war 
against Napoleon in 1805, which was ended by the humiliating 


Peace of Pressburg. Now they lost, and that too to their 
secular enemy, Bavaria, which was the ally of Napoleon, not 
merely the Tyrol (already held 1342 to 1363 by the Bavarian 
second husband of Margaret Maultasch), but also the Vorarlberg, 
the bishoprics of Trent and Brixen, and the lordship of Rhiizuns 
in the Grisons. The one gleam of light was the annexation of 
the electorate of Salzburg (which Ferdinand was compelled to 
give up for the newly created grand-duchy of Wiirzburg), and 
that meant much, for it included the upper Zillerthal, the 
Brixenthal, and the territory of Berchtesgaden, as well as 
Windisch Matrei and the Pinzgau, all regions which projected 
into Tyrolese territory in a most uncomfortable way. In 
1809-10, however, though the Habsburgers lost Salzburg to 
Bavaria, as well as a part of Carinthia and all Carniola to the 
French Empire (which added them to other districts and gave 
to the conglomeration the name of the ' Illyrian Provinces '), 
they had the satisfaction of seeing that Bavaria did not fare 
much better, for she lost the bishopric of Trent and a bit of 
that of Brixen (up to Botzen) to the Napoleonic kingdom of 
Italy, as well as Rhazuns to France (it came to the Grisons in 
1815). But after the fall of Napoleon the Habsburgers regained 
(18 14-16) almost all their lost dominions — the Tyrol, the 
Vorarlberg, Salzburg, (including the whole of the Zillerthal), the 
bishoprics of Trent and Brixen (all these from Bavaria) as 
well as Carniola and Carinthia (from France). One odd little 
loss to Austria must, however, be recorded. By some accident, 
in 1 8 14, the Austrian diplomatists, when drawing up the list 
of the territories which Bavaria was to hand over to them, 
forgot to mention the district of Berchtesgaden (which had 
become Bavarian in 18 10); it, therefore, remains Bavarian to 
this day, though it juts awkwardly into Austrian territory. Such 
are the vagaries of historical geography, the study of which 
clears up many puzzling territorial arrangements, which, at first 
sight, seem contrary to common-sense and to any theory of 
' natural frontiers,' 

(ii) The Bavarian Highlands 

We must now for a moment turn our thoughts backwards in 
order to consider briefly the fortunes of the duchy of Bavaria, 
after, in 976, it had lost successively the East Mark, the North 
Mark, and the South Mark. Its dimensions were thus much 
shrunken, and continued to shrink as the power of the Bishop 
of Brixen and of the Archbishop of Salzburg grew and increased, 
for that meant the loss of the future Tyrol and the future 
Salzburg. The duchy came back in 1002 to the German king, 
who kept it till 1061 in his own hands or those of his relations. 
But in 1070 it passed to the Guelfs. Henceforward its history 
was much disturbed till the Emperor in 1180 dethroned Henry 
the Lion, and gave the much shrunken duchy to one of his 
adherents. Otto of Wittelsbach (a castle — destroyed in 1209 — 
near Aichach, N.E. of Augsburg), whose descendants reign in 
Bavaria to-day. This dynasty restored peace to the country, 
and, though much hampered by the many lines into which 
it split up, gradually won back much of the territory that had 
been lost. It little by little gathered in the lands of various 
noble families which became extinct, in particular in 1248, the 
wide Bavarian possessions of the Counts of Andechs (whose 
Tyrolese fiefs then reverted to the Bishop of Brixen). In 1255 
we first hear of the division of the land into Upper Bavaria 
(which alone concerns us here) and Lower Bavaria, the last 
joined to the Palatinate of the Rhine. By the early fourteenth 
century the Dukes of Bavaria of the new line had extended 
their limits as far as the crest of the mountain chain that shuts 
in, on the N., the Inn valley between Innsbruck and Landeck, 
but they did not yet hold the entire N. slope of this chain. 
The highest point of prosperity was reached when the duke 
became, under the name of Louis iv., German king in 13 14 
and Emperor in 1328 (d. 1347), for not merely did he hold his 
patrimony, but also (from 1324 onwards) the North Mark (or 
Brandenburg, lost to his family in 1373), while his son had also 
the Tyrol (1342-1363) as the second husband of Margaret 


Maultasch. But in 1505 (formally in 1507), after a war of 
succession, Bavaria had to give up to the Habsburgers (as we 
saw above) Kufstein, Kitzbiihel, Rattenberg, and the Bavarian 
bit of the Zillerthal — these had reverted to Bavaria on the 
death of Margaret Maultasch (1369), but were never held 
permanently by Bavaria again, this loss meaning that of the 
right bank of the Inn and of the S.E. bit of old Bavaria. Some 
consolation was afforded by the elevation of Bavaria to an 
Electorate in 1623, a dignity then taken from the younger or 
Palatinate line of the house. In 1567 (1575) the lordship of 
Hohenschwangau, E. of Fiissen) and in 1734 that of Hohen- 
waldeck (E. of the Tegernsee) were acquired, thus further 
completing and strengthening the S. or Alpine frontier of 
Bavaria. But it was in 1803-5 that Bavaria made large pe7'- 
manent additions to its territory (without taking count of the 
temporary occupation of certain districts, mentioned under 
the section relating to the Habsburgers in the Napoleonic era). 
In 1803 it acquired the secularised bishopric of Freising (in 
particular the county of Werdenfels, which included Mittenwald, 
Partenkirchen, etc., and so one slope of the Zugspitze), and also 
that of Augsburg (this meant for the first time an advance to 
the left bank of the Lech, long the Bavarian W. frontier, and on 
past Fiissen and Oberstdorf to the right bank of the lUer). In 
1805, besides a royal crown (assumed on January i, 1806) and 
the temporary possession of the Tyrol, Vorarlberg, etc., it per- 
manently won from the Habsburgers the county of Konigsegg- 
Rothenfels (on the left bank of the Iller), the lordship of Hoheneck 
(with Weiler), just W. of the former, and the old Imperial Free 
city of Lindau, on the N.E. shore of the Lake of Constance, 
which was thus reached (though scarcely more than touched) 
after many years of effort. (Let us note in passing that in 1805 
Bavaria also got the old Imperial Free city of Buchhorn, on the 
N.E. shore of the lake and a little to the N.W. of Lindau : but 
in 1 8 10 it had to give it up to Napoleon's ally, Wiirttemberg, 
whose ruler became king, like his neighbour of Bavaria, on 
January i, 1806, and rechristened this acquisition in his own 
honour as ' Friedrichshafen '). These acquisitions rounded off 



the Bavarian frontier towards the S.W. and the Vorarlberg, while 
the retention of Berchtesgaden and its territory (got from the 
Habsburgers in 1809, but not restored in 1814) completed the 
Bavarian frontier at its S.E. corner. 

It was thus in 1805 only that the Watzmann (8901 ft.) became 
wholly Bavarian, and in 1803 that the Zugspitze (9738 ft.) attained 
the honour of being (as to its E. slope at least) Bavarian, and so 
now the loftiest summit within the German Empire. But to the 
S.W. rises the higher Parseierspitze (9968 ft.), which is wholly 
within the Tyrol (therefore Austrian), while the other two loftiest 
peaks in the N. limestone ranges, the Dachstein (9830 ft.) 
and the Hochkonig (9639 ft.), rise much further to the E., the 
latter being wholly within the Salzburg district, while 
the former is the meeting-point of Upper Austria, Salzburg, and 
Styria. It will thus be seen that Bavaria, and so ' Germany ' 
as distinguished from ' Austria,' can claim but part of one 
slope of the outermost and lowest limestone range of the Alps, 
so that the plaintive lament of the German writer, quoted in 
the preceding Chai)ter (p. 60), is completely justified, and even 

Political Peaks (Eastern Alps) 

At the end of the corresponding section relating to the 
Central Alps, it was pointed out that E. of the Bernina Pass 
the physical and the political frontiers are all but utterly distinct. 
This phenomenon appears also in the Eastern Alps, and for a 
similar reason, namely the annexation to the possessions of the 
Habsburgers (as to Switzerland or Italy in the case of the Central 
Alps) of lands which lie to the N. or S. of the great ' divide ' of 
the Alps. Such are the bishoprics of Trent and of Brixen (as to 
its S. portion), the archbishopric of Salzburg and the county of 
Gorz (as regards the Pusterthal). 

Hence from the Reschen Scheideck Pass \h& physical frontier 
runs along the crest of the snowy regions of the Oetzthal, 
Stubaithal, and Zillerthal ranges ; of course, the whole of each of 
these groups is Austrian, though occasionally shared by two or 


more provinces of that Empire. Some of the higher summits 
are on the divide itself, so the Weisskugel (12,291 ft.) in the 
Oetzthal group, and the Hochfeiler (11,559 ft.) in the Zillerthal 
Alps. But some seem to take pleasure in rising a little way to 
the N. or to the S. of the main divide. Thus the Wildspitze 
(12,382 ft.) in the Oetzthal Alps, and the Zuckerhiitl (11,520 
ft.) in the Stubaithal Alps, each being the loftiest in its par- 
ticular region, rise N. of it. 

Some geographers consider that the main divide of the Alps 
E. of the Zillerthal group is formed by the Tauern range, which 
is undoubtedly the loftiest ridge. Here, too, a phenomenon 
similar to those already noted occurs — of its higher summits 
the Dreiherrenspitze (11,500 ft) and the Gross Venediger 
(12,008 ft.) rise on the divide itself, but, further E., the Gross 
Glockner (12,461 ft.) stands on a spur to its S., while the Gross 
Wiesbachhorn (11,713 ft.) stands on a spur to the N. of the 
great divide. The name of the Dreiherrenspitze comes from 
the fact that in olden days the boundaries of the Tyrol, Salzburg, 
and Gorz (the Pusterthal or Carinthian bit) met on its summit, 
while the Gross Venediger was so called as it also bordered on 
the county of Gorz (inherited by the Habsburgers in 1500), 
which occupies a portion of the territory formerly held by the 
ancient Veneti, though never by the city of Venice. 

Other geographers hold that the real main ridge of the Alps 
follows the watershed. From the Dreiherrenspitze this dips S., 
passes over the Hochgall (11,287 ft., the highest point of the 
Rieserferner group), and rejoins the political frontier a little N.E. 
of the Drei Zinnen. Thence the watershed and the political fron- 
tier continue in company for some time, the Monte Peralba (8829 
ft), in the Carnic Alps, rising to the S. of the main ridge, on 
which, however, are the two highest points of the Carnic Alps, 
the Monte Coglians (9128 ft.) and the Kellerwand (9105 ft.) as 
well as Monte Canin (8471 ft.) in the Julie Alps. Near the 
Predil Pass and Monte Canin the main ridge (leaving the 
political frontier) bears E., and rises in the Manhart (8786 ft.) and 
in the Terglou (9400 ft), the culminating point of the S.E. Alps 
in general), though the two loftiest summits of the Karawankas 


Alps, the Stou (7346 ft.) and the Grintouc (8429 ft.), are on 
a great E. spur. But the political frontier (largely conventional 
for historical reasons) bears S. from near the Predil Pass (N.E. 
of Monte Canin), and keeping W. of Gorz, reaches the shores of 
the Hadriatic a little to the W. of Aquileia. 

It will thus be seen that the physical frontier leaves to the S. 
the whole of the Ortler, Adamello, and Dolomite Alps, and this 
for the historical reasons given above — these groups rise in the 
Brixen, Trentino, or Venetian districts. Of course the political 
frontier also follows (roughly speaking) a watershed, that, namely, 
which from the Stelvio runs S. to the head of the Lake of Garda ; 
this frontier then makes a great circle to the N,E., E., and S.E. 
(to the S. are the Bellunese and Friuli, both now Italian and not 
Austrian), till it passes E. of Cividale and W. of Gorz, before 
reaching the coast of the Hadriatic just W, of Aquileia. But 
we find that the highest summits often do not rise even on this 
secondary watershed (so to call it). In the Ortler group, the 
Konigsspitze (12,655 f^-) ^'^^ the Monte Cividale (12,382 
ft.) do rise on it, and so are half Tyrolese and half Italian 
(in the county of Bormio, so were half Swiss or in the Grisons, 
151 2-1 797), but the Ortler itself (12,802 ft.) — the loftiest summit 
in the Tyrol and so in the Eastern Alps — is a little to the N., 
and so is wholly Tyrolese. In the Adamello group, the 
Adamello (11,661 ft.) itself is W. of the political frontier, and 
so is wholly Italian and Bergamasque (therefore Venetian from 
1428 to 1797), while the Presanella (i 1,694 ft.) and the Care 
Alto (11,369 ft.) are to the E. of the political frontier, and 
so are wholly within the Austrian Trentino, as are also the 
Brenta Dolomites (culminating in the Cima Tosa, 10,420 ft.), 
still farther to the E. Among the Dolomites the glorious rock 
needles of the Rosengarten (which culminate in the Kesselkogel, 
9846 ft.), the Langkofel (10,427 ft.), and the other Grodnerthal 
peaks are to the W. of the political frontier, and so are 
now wholly Tyrolese, as formerly included in the territory of the 
Bishop of Trent. The Pala di San Martino (9831 ft.) is by 
a curious freak wholly Austrian (since 1373, like the Primiero 
valley), but the Sass Maor (9239 ft.), the Cima di Vezzana 


(10,470 ft.) — the Cimone della Pala, 10,453 ft., rises on a N.W, 
spur, and so is wholly Austrian — and the Marmolata (11,024 
ft), the highest of all Dolomites, are on the political frontier, 
and so half in the Tyrol, and half in the Bellunese (now 
Italian, but formerly Venetian). On the other hand, the Monte 
Civetta (10,564 ft.) and the Pelmo (10,397 ft.) rise to the 
E. of the political frontier, and so are wholly in Italy {i.e. 
in the Bellunese). Of the Cortina Dolomites the Antelao 
(10,706 ft.) is S. of the frontier, in the Bellunese, and so wholly 
Italian, while the Tofana (10,633 ft.) is W, of the frontier, 
and so wholly Tyrolese. But the Sorapiss (10,594 ft.), Monte 
Cristallo (10,496 ft.), and the Drei Zinnen (9853 ft.) are all 
on the political frontier, and so are half Tyrolese (since 15 17) 
and half in the Bellunese (and so were half Venetian from 1404 
till 1797). Farther E., the Monte Peralba (8829 ft.) is S. of 
the main watershed, and so wholly Italian, though as it rises to 
the W. of the frontier between the Bellunese and Friuli, it is 
entirely in the former district. But Monte Coglians (9128 ft.) 
and the Kellerwand (9105 ft.) rise on the political frontier be- 
tween Austrian Carinthia and Italian Friuli. Monte Canin (8471 
ft.), too, rises on the political frontier between Italian Friuli and 
the Austrian county of Gorz. But the Manhart (8786 ft.) and 
the Terglou (9400 ft.) are wholly Austrian (rising on the frontier 
between Carniola, E., and the county of Gorz, W.), as are the 
Stou (7346 ft.) and the Grintouc (8429 ft.), which are on the 
frontier between Carinthia, N., and Carniola, S., the E. flank 
of the last named being claimed by Styria. 



THE Alps form a mighty barrier between Italy and the 
outer world. But this barrier can be either turned at its 
W. or E. extremity (this was the course probably taken by the 
earliest barbarian invaders) or boldly forced at one or the other 
point. It is with the latter method that we are here concerned. 
Now it is an altogether erroneous idea to imagine that a moun- 
tain ridge (whether it be the main watershed of the Alps or a 
secondary range) always separates in a very marked degree the 
inhabitants living on one slope from those living on the other. 
To hurried travellers from the plains this may seem to be the 
case. But history teaches us that passes rather bring together 
the regions situated on their opposite slopes, so that often these 
are linked together by far closer bonds than with other districts 
towards which they might seem to be naturally attracted by 
reason of easier communications. Instances of this are afforded 
by the Mont Genevre, which joined under one ruler (the 
Dauphin of the Viennois, later the king of France) the valleys 
lying to its E. and to its W., and that till 1713 ; or the Great St. 
Bernard, by means of which the valley of Aosta was long con- 
nected with Burgundy to the N., rather than with Italy to the 
S. ; or the St. Gotthard, which unites the Swiss Cantons of Uri 
and Tessin with each other ; or the Brenner, that has greatly 
helped to create the Tyrol, which sits astride of this mountain 
ridge. No doubt it is true that in some cases mountain passes 
have afforded to the men on one slope the chance of conquering 
and subjugating those on the other. But our point is rather 
that, given an original conquest or emigration or what not, dis- 



tricts which are physically separated by a more or less lofty 
mountain ridge have, later on, frequently shared the same his- 
torical fortunes, and even now are joined together under the 
same ruler. In fact, one is almost tempted to venture on the 
paiadox that mountain ranges unite rather than divide, while a 
physical obstacle in a valley will prove far more potent by cutting 
off the lower from the higher portion (witness such cases as the 
Chisone valley, the Val de Bagnes, the Avers valley, the upper 
Inn valley, the composite valley known as the Pusterthal, and so 
on). Of course, like all paradoxes, the one we have put forth is 
not universally true. But it is true in a sufficiently large number 
of cases to justify us in throwing it at the heads of our readers, 
for the end and object of a paradox is first to startle, then to 
induce a more careful examination of the subject in hand, and 
so to bring out new aspects of the matter, or to throw fresh light 
on well-known facts. 

It is a well-ascertained fact that with the single exception of 
the Septimer (with which the Spliigen was often confounded 
in the pages of older writers) no pass in the Central Alps 
(that is, between the Simplon and the Reschen Scheideck) 
across the main watershed was known, or at any rate frequented, 
till the early Middle Ages. In short, the Central Alps were not 
opened towards Italy till a comparatively recent date, though 
now one need only think of the St. Gotthard to realise how com- 
pletely things have altered in this respect. Further, as between 
the passes in the Western Alps (Col de Tenda to the Simplon) 
and those in the Eastern Alps (Reschen Scheideck to the Predil 
and the Radstadter Tauern) there were several marked points of 
difference. One is that in the Western Alps there was a great 
river-valley (that of the Rhone) with several branches (for 
instance the Durance and the Isere) which afforded easy access 
from the Mediterranean (which is almost touched by the Mari- 
time Alps) to the valleys of the W. slope of the Alps, and thus 
caused them to lie open to attack or to occupation by the first 
comer who profited by this great natural highway. But in the 
Eastern Alps no river flows down towards the Hadriatic, save 
the Adige, which is there the counterpart of the Rhone: the 


other rivers flow away eastwards (think of the Inn, the Drave, 
and the Save), and being separated from the sea by several 
ranges, cannot be used as highways from the sea to the valleys 
on the E. slope of the Alps as is the case with that of the Rhone. 
A second point of difference between the Western and Eastern 
ends of the Alps is that the latter was for centuries a border- 
land or ' march ' towards, at varying dates, the strange tribes of 
the Magyars, the Slavonians, and the Turks, and therefore, like 
all frontier lands, was unsettled, exposed to incursions, and not 
attractive to peaceful dwellers, ready and able to cultivate and 
to civiHse it. How far different was the case in the Western 
Alps, where the rich and well-cultivated plains of Gaul, teeming 
with Roman civilisation, seemed to invite attack, while there were 
secure, uninterrupted, and peaceful communications with Italy. 
Once again it is noteworthy that at the W. end of the Alpine 
chain the main watershed consists of one ridge and so is easily 
crossed. At the E. end of the Alpine chain, however, two or 
even three ridges (spreading out like the sticks of a fan) have to 
be crossed before the journey from the plains on the N. to those 
on the S. is completed. For instance, by means of the Mont 
Genevre, the Mont Cenis, or either of the St. Bernards, the 
crossing of a single pass led from Gaul to Italy. But in the 
Eastern Alps the medieeval highway from Augsburg to Milan 
crossed successively three ranges by the Fern, the Reschen 
Scheideck, and the Umbrail Passes, while the route from Salz- 
burg to Venice had similarly to traverse the Lueg gorge, the 
Radstadter Tauern, and then either the Ampezzo, the Plocken, 
the Predil, or the Pontebba (Saifnitz) Passes. Nowadays, for 
political considerations, the great railway line from Vienna to 
Trieste is carried under four ranges by as many tunnels — beneath 
the Pyhrn and the Hohe Tauern Passes, next piercing the Kara- 
wankas Alps, and finally the Julie Alps by the Wochein tunnel. 
One reason, no doubt, for the fact of such complicated routes in 
the Eastern Alps has been already pointed out — the rivers there 
flow eastwards and not southwards, so that instead of simply 
mounting a single valley to the pass at its head, it was necessary 
to cross three roughly parallel ridges, thus descending into may- 


hap deep-cut river beds, and twice reascending out of them, 
this course rendering the traverse of this portion of the Alps very 
toilsome, even though the passes themselves may be easier and 
lower than at the W. end of the Alpine chain. Yet there were 
also drawbacks in the Western Alps. If the main watershed 
consisted of but one ridge it was often necessary (if one came 
from the W.) to cross a second in order to reach the foot of the 
former, if one desired to avoid a great detour by following a long 
and winding river-valley in all its length. For instance, in order 
to reach the W. foot of either the Col de I'Argentiere or the 
Mont Genevre direct from the Rhone valley, it is necessary to 
cross a second pass (whether near Gap or by the Col du 
Lautaret) to gain the Durance valley, whence both passes lead 
to Italy. Herein an enormous advantage lay with other passes 
to which a single valley led up straight from the plains on the 
W., and hence the mediaeval Mont Cenis finally beat the Roman 
Mont Genevre out of the field. So, too, the Roman Great St. 
Bernard beat the mediseval Simplon (till the latter got a high- 
road made over it). Similarly, in the Central Alps the St. Gott- 
hard and the Septimer became the great highways when the 
Alps were better known, the journey over the neighbouring 
passes, such as the Lukmanier, the San Bernardino, the Julier- 
Maloja, etc., involving far more labour and time. In the 
Eastern Alps the Brenner enjoys a similar advantage over its 

The political importance which attached to the possession of 
Alpine passes is so obvious that we need not dwell upon it at 
length. The long struggle for the Valtelline (or upper valley of 
the Adda) between 1620 and 1639 shows this, for by it the 
Milanese and Imperial lines of the House of Habsburg could 
communicate and help each other, while the object of their 
enemies (whether French or Swiss) was to block this highway. 
So, too. Napoleon, ' that great master of practical geography,' as 
Mr. Ball calls him, took very good care to secure his hold on the 
Vallais, and thus on the Great St. Bernard and Simplon Passes 
— from 1802 to 1 8 10 it was formed into a Rhodanic Republic, 
quite distinct from the Helvetic Republic (of which it formed 


part from 1798 to 1802), while from 1810 to 1814 it was simply 
the ' Departement du Simplon ' of the French Empire. A much 
earlier case of the importance attached to the holding of the 
passes over the Alps is afforded by the special care as to this 
point shown by Charles the Great when elaborating a scheme 
(never carried out, owing to the death of two of the intended 
beneficiaries) for the division of his Empire (which, as we have 
before pointed out, included the entire chain of the Alps) among 
his three sons in 806. The eldest son, Charles (d. 811) was to 
receive on his father's death the old Frankish realm ; Pippin, the 
second son (d. 810), Italy, Bavaria, and Raetia; and the youngest 
son, Louis (who alone survived his father, and is known in history 
as Louis the Pious), was to have what corresponds to E. and S. 
France (including Savoy). The Empire being thus partitioned 
out, Charles continues : ' This division is so arranged that Charles 
and Louis may have a route into Italy open to them so as to 
assist their brother, if occasion arise, Charles through the valley 
of Aosta, which belongs to his kingdom, and Louis through the 
valley of Susa, while Pippin is to have his going out and his 
coming in through the Noric Alps and past Coire.' It will be 
seen that the lands received by each son were so disposed as to 
allow of the command of the several passes named — Charles 
had the Great St. Bernard, and Louis the Mont Genevre and 
the Mont Cenis, while Pippin held the later Tyrol, and also the 
route past Coire, the Brenner and Septimer Passes being here 

The enumeration of the Alpine passes thus secured by Charles 
the Great to his heirs is not merely interesting as showing us which 
were then the most frequented, but also because none of these 
passes is described by any special name, the route being indicated 
simply by stating the valley or the region of the Alps through 
which it passed, or the important Alpine city which was neces- 
sarily visited in the course of the journey. In fact, the modern 
practice of attributing special names to Alpine passes does not 
come in vogue till the early Middle Ages. Hence in trying to 
trace out, say, the journey of an Emperor or great ecclesiastic 
across the Alps, we have to note the towns by which he passed 


and the valleys which he traversed. There are very few excep- 
tions to this general rule, which obtains to some extent even in 
the early Middle Ages, so that considerable patience has to be 
exercised in this matter. As we should expect, it is the more 
westerly passes from Italy to Transalpine Gaul which are first 
mentioned by special names, e.g. the Mont Genevre, the Mont 
Cenis, and the two St. Bernards. These were 'through routes,' 
and so had to be distinguished from the minor highways. Only 
fugitives and very cunning military commanders, for similar 
reasons of secrecy, used these side tracks. It is remarkable 
how many of the old Roman and mediaeval passes still retain 
their predominance in modern times, even though, i?iter se, the 
popularity of one may decline, or that of another may increase — 
in short, there are 'fashions ' in Alpine passes, as well as in most 
other matters pertaining to mankind. 

Before entering on an account (which must be brief, as be- 
fits our limits) of the chief Alpine passes, we must lay down 
some rule or principle by which to distinguish a ' great historical 
pass ' from a minor one. This is not so easy a task as it seems 
to be at first sight. Obviously we must place in the forefront 
the principal passes across the ffiain divide of the Alps, those, 
in other words, which connect the outer world with fair Italy. 
But since to the epithet ' great ' we have added that of ' historical,' 
it follows that in these pages it is the historical part played by 
any pass, and not merely its topographical features (directness, 
easiness, lowness), which must guide us in making our selection — 
whether the historical importance of the pass be due to military, 
to commercial, to economical, or to political reasons. This 
qualification of 'historical' implies further that we cannot, as 
some writers urge, leave wholly out of sight those passes which 
do not traverse the main divide of the Alps, but cross its lateral 
ridges. The international importance of these passes may not 
be so great as in the case of the former class, but their historical 
importance (particularly in the case of shiftings of the popula- 
tion, etc.) may be even greater. Hence we propose to include 
both classes in the following brief survey, though, of course, it is 
impossible to enumerate all the passes which have played a 


part in purely local history. Our choice has been based on 
a very wide and detailed personal knowledge of both classes 
of passes (though less detailed in the Eastern Alps than in 
the two other divisions of the chain), and it is hoped that no 
really 'historical pass' has been omitted. But, of course, the 
passes over the main divide will claim most of our attention, 
the others having to be content with a more or less cursory 

As we have indicated elsewhere, the knowledge of the Alpine 
passes possessed by the Romans has, in in our opinion, been 
vastly exaggerated. That practical race did not stop to admire 
the beauties of nature, but faced the horrors of the mountains 
for purely business reasons — military, administrative, or com- 
mercial : it was only after the spread of Christianity that pilgrims 
and ecclesiastics swelled the throng of travellers over the Alps, 
on their way to or from the ' threshold of the Apostles,' Rome, 
the true centre of Western civilisation in all respects. Still, as 
it is mainly from Roman writers (with an occasional Greek 
geographer, like Strabo) that we owe our first more or less 
detailed knowledge (however imperfect) of the Alpine passes, 
it is best to consider which passes are actually mentioned by 
them or in the Itineraries, or in surviving inscriptions. We 
exclude in each case the so-called pass by the Maritime Alps, 
which is simply the way along the shore of the Mediterranean 
from Genoa to Marseilles, traversing one of the last spurs 
(1490 ft.) of the Alps at Turbie, above Monaco, and is not a 
pass in the modern sense of the term, though it does cross the 
main divide of the Alps that runs S. from the Mont Clapier. 
Materials fail for tracing out the gradual spread of the know- 
ledge of the Alpine passes, a subject which would be most 
interesting, if only it were possible to treat it adequately. 

Strabo (first century a.d.) reports that Polybios (second 
century B.C.) — the passage has been preserved to us by Strabo 
only — enumerated (besides the pass through the country of 
the Ligurians, i.e. the Turbie route) three passes across the 
Alps— first that through the country of the Taurini, 'which 
was crossed by Hannibal,' then that through the country of 


the Salassi, and finally that through the country of the R^eti. 
These routes seem to be the Mont Genevre {not the Mont 
Cenis, for reasons to be mentioned presently), the Great (though 
possibly the Little) St. Bernard, and the Brenner. Servius 
(early fifth century a.d.) commenting on a passage of Virgil's 
yEtieid (book x. line 13), quotes the statement (preserved to us 
only by this citation) of Varro (first century B.C.) that in the 
Alps of Gaul {i.e., roughly speaking, the Western Alps of this 
work) there were five passes known to him, one being that 
through the country of the Ligurians— the others are described 
with a precise though tantalising vagueness as that which Hanni- 
bal crossed, that which was traversed by Pompey on his way to 
the war in Spain, that by which Hasdrubal came from Gaul 
to Italy, and finally that through the Graian Alps. The last 
named is clearly the Little St. Bernard, while the rest, though 
clearly all in the Western Alps, have been the subject of many 
discussions. It is not our intention to enter here on the much- 
vexed question of the pass which was crossed by Hannibal 
when he entered Italy in B.C. 218, that event for the first time 
bringing it home to the Romans that the barrier of the Alps 
was not as impassable as they had fondly believed it to be. 
But the present writer may be allowed to state that he is very 
strongly in favour of the Mont Genevre. No doubt there are 
contradictions and discrepancies in the accounts of this famous 
passage which have been handed down to us by Polybios and 
by Livy. But the present writer has himself either crossed, or 
in a few cases reached the summit of (that is, ascended one 
slope only) every pass in the Alps, high or low, which has ever 
been claimed by even the wildest writer (and there are many 
of them) as being possibly that of Hannibal, and his conviction 
has been confirmed more and more that the Mont Genevre was 
in all probability the pass. In any case, he is of opinion that 
its only really serious rival is the Little St. Bernard, the other 
passes which have been brought forward all failing in some 
important respect to meet the requirements of the case. It 
should, however, be always borne in mind that all these accounts 
we have of passes across the Alps are second-hand — Strabo and 


Servius may easily have misquoted or misunderstood the authors 
they cite, while Hannibal's march is known to us only by the 
reports given by the Romans, and not (unfortunately) from 
Carthaginian sources. 

Let us now turn to the ' Itineraries,' which date from the 
fourth century a.d., and so from near the end of the rule of 
the Romans, and a little while before the arrival of the ' bar- 
barians.' Of these, that known as the Antonine Linerary is 
the most important, while the Jerusalem Itinerary mentions 
but two passes on the way from Bordeaux to Jerusalem, but 
that called the ' Peutinger Table ' (a thirteenth century copy of 
a fourth century original) is very useful in its way, though it is 
pictorial rather than a mere dry list of ' stations ' like the two 
others. Now (always excluding the route by the ' Maritime Alps ') 
we find that the Mont Genevre (which is the first pass indicated 
by the Jerusalem Itinerary) is mentioned both by the Antonine 
Itinerary and the Peutinger Table. Both also mention the 
Little and the Great St. Bernard (not by their present names, 
of course), possibly the Spliigen, certainly the Septimer, and 
the Brenner, as well as two low passes on the extreme E. 
limit of the Alps, the Birnbaumer Wald (also mentioned by 
the Jerusalem Itinerary), from Laibach to Gorz, and the Pyhrn 
Pass, from Liezen (Enns valley) to Linz. The Antonine 
Itinerary alone indicates the routes over the Monte Croce 
(Plocken) Pass and the Saifnitz (Pontebba) Pass, across the 
most southerly of the three ranges at the E. end of the Eastern 
Alps, while the Peutinger Table alone mentions that of the 
Radstiidter Tauern, across the central of the above-mentioned 
three ranges. These are all the passes which are actually 
mentioned in the Itineraries, and which therefore were certainly 
known to the Romans in the fourth century a.d., while the mile- 
stones found on the Radstiidter Tauern route have inscrip- 
tions mentioning Septimius Severus and Caracalla (early third 
century). Claims have been made for other passes on the 
ground of monuments, inscriptions, milestones, finds of Roman 
coins {e.g. the St. Theodule and the Julier), etc. But though 
passes other than those mentioned expressly in the Itineraries 


were (it is highly probable) known to the Romans and certainly 
to the inhabitants, it is, in the opinion of the present writer, 
impossible to say definitely that, in addition to those already 
enumerated, any other passes were known to the Romans than 
the Col de I'Argentiere (in the Western Alps) and the Jaufen 
Pass, as well as the Solkscharte and other passes over the 
Tauern range (in the Eastern Alps). As stated previously, the 
Central Alps were (save in the case of the Septimer, and possibly 
of the Splugen) only opened by passes in the Middle Ages. 

Of course, the names actually borne by the Alpine passes are 
modern. But it is interesting to note that in a few cases names 
are given to passes in the Itineraries, this fact probably showing 
that these were the most frequented routes. Thus the Mont 
Genevre (which was the great Alpine pass known in antiquity) 
is called 'Alpes Cottise' or 'Alpis Cottia' by the Antonine 
Itinerary and Peutinger Table respectively, while the Jerusalem 
Itinerary adds the name of ' Matrona.' Both the Antonine 
Itinerary and the Peutinger Table call the Little St. Bernard 
'Alpes Graige' or the 'Alpis Graia,' and the Great St. Bernard 
' Alpes Penninae ' or the ' Summus Penninus.' This agrees 
with the view that the passes across the Western Alps were 
by far the most important in antiquity. The Antonine 
Itinerary attributes no names to any of the other passes it 
indicates. But the Peutinger Table gives the singular and 
hitherto unexplained appellation of ' Cunu aureu ' apparently 
to the Spliigen, while it calls the Birnbaumer Wald the 
' Alpis Julia,' the Jerusalem Itinerary preferring the form of 

After these general considerations as to the Alpine passes 
known of old, we must go on to speak more in detail of those 
which were frequented (by the Emperors on their way to Rome, 
or by pilgrims or by armies or by students or by merchants) in 
the Middle Ages and in still more recent times. It seems most 
convenient to enumerate these passes under the heads of the 
Western, the Central, and the Eastern Alps, briefly (for our limits 
forbid more) pointing out the chief historical characteristics of 
each, and recalling by the way the minor passes across the main 


divide, and the principal routes over lateral ridges. By a 
curious irony of fate the very first of our ' Great Passes,' the 
Col de Tenda, crosses, strictly speaking, a lateral ridge, for the 
main divide of the Alps dips S. at the Mont Clapier, a little to 
its W., and runs down to the Turbie spur. It need hardly be 
pointed out that the routes from all these passes converge in 
Italy towards one of the great cities of Turin, Milan, and Venice, 
which (roughly speaking) form the goal respectively of the passes 
from the Western, the Central, and the Eastern Alps. 

I. — The Western Alps 

In this region we may reckon about eight great historical 
passes (Tenda, Argentiere, Mont Genevre, the Mont Cenis, the 
two St. Bernards, the Antrona Pass, and the Simplon), which 
we must now briefly notice in topographical order, intercalating 
a few minor passes which seem to deserve a mention. 

The most southerly of these passes, the Col de Tenda 
(6145 ft.), leading from Cuneo past Tenda to Ventimiglia, has 
always been chiefly useful to the local lords (first the Counts 
of Tenda, then the Angevin Counts of Provence, and from 
1575 onwards the House of Savoy) who have ruled over the 
regions on either slope, which are linked together by it. 
Crossed in 906 by the Saracens of La Garde Freinet on their 
way to ravage the region of Cuneo, it comes into importance 
mainly after 1388 when the county of Nice passed to the 
House of Savoy, the heads of which used it as their shortest 
route from one part of their dominions to another. The town 
of Nice can, however, only be reached by this route after 
crossing two minor passes, for the direct route from the pass 
runs down the valley of the Roja to Ventimiglia. A carriage 
road was constructed across it, 1 779-1 782, though the tunnel 
beneath the crest of the pass, commenced by the Dukes of 
Savoy in the early eighteenth century, was only completed in 
1882. But, owing to the French 'enclave' of Saorge, etc. 
(see Chapter vi.), the projected railway line to Ventimiglia 
cannot take the natural course down the Roja valley, but 


must pass through a second tunnel in order to round this 
obstacle, and the extra expense will no doubt long hinder 
the carrying out of this scheme. The Col de Tenda is also 
used as a means of communication between Cuneo and Nice, 
but to reach that town two other lower ridges must be crossed 
on the way, the first by the Col de Brouis (2749 ft.), from 
Giandola to Sospel, and the second by the Col de Brans 
(3278 ft.), over the main divide of the Alps, from Sospel to 
L'Escarene, whence, after crossing a third ridge, the Paillon glen 
is followed to Nice. At Nice fall in the direct routes from 
Barcelonnette through the Var valley by the new carriage road 
over the Col de la Cayolle (7717 ft.) or through that of its 
affluent, the Tinee, over the mule pass of the Col des Grafiges 
Cof/wmnes (8242 ft.). These passes were frequented in the 
older days when both Barcelonnette and Nice belonged to the 
House of Savoy. On the other hand, the Col delle Finestre 
(8107 ft.) is still the most frequented pass of the region, next 
after the Col de Tenda, for on its S. side (though still in 
Italian territory) is a locally famous sanctuary of the Madonna. 

Next in order comes the Col de rArgentiere (6545 ft.), so 
called in France from the first village, Argentera, on the Italian 
side, while the Italians call it ' Col de Larche,' from the first 
important village on the French side. — it is also called ' Col 
de la Madeleine,' from a chapel near the top- It leads from 
Cuneo to Barcelonnette in the Ubaye valley. It is one of the 
.very few Alpine passes which, though not mentioned in the 
Itineraries, yet was certainly known to the Romans, as is shown 
by various antiquities found on the route, though the inscrip- 
tions are said to be forged. Some writers have attempted to 
show that it was Hannibal's pass, but, in the opinion of the 
present writer, who crossed it in 1883 in company with the 
chief supporter of this theory, this view is untenable. As the 
route over it leads to the valley of the Durance, it is necessary 
to cross a second pass before reaching the central bit of the 
Rhone valley, and this topographical drawback has always told 
against our pass. After the county of Nice (which included 
Barcelonnette) came to the House of Savoy from the Counts 


of Provence in 1388, and till Barcelonnette became French in 
1713 (the rest of the county did not come to France till i860) 
our pass was the chief route for the Savoy sovereigns from 
Piedmont to this part of their dominions, for both sides of 
the Mont Genevre were (from 1349) French. The main 
historical event in the annals of the Argentiere is the passage 
of Francis i. in 15 15 on his way to Italy. It was later crossed 
by armies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The 
carriage road across was begun by Napoleon (though not 
completed till of late years), who styled it ' route imperiale 
d'Espagne en Italic,' while it actually bears the title of 'route 
de Montpellier a Coni.' The Col de Vars (6939 ft.) is, how- 
ever, the direct military route (especially since the construction 
of a char road across it) from the grand Tournoux Fort near the 
W. foot of the Argentiere to the junction of the Guil glen below 
Briangon with the main Durance valley. 

N. of the Argentiere and yet S. of the Mont Genevre the 
main divide (almost everywhere easily crossed) is traversed by 
several passes, none of them boasting of a carriage road. 
The Col de FAgnel (9003 ft.) leads from the Queyras valley 
(or Guil valley) to Chateau Dauphin (Casteldelfino) at the head 
of the Varaita valley, and was (till Chateau Dauphin became 
Savoyard in 17 13) the main route from the Dauphine to that 
outlying bit of Dauphinois territory. That village, still domin- 
ated by the ruined fourteenth century castle of the Dauphins 
whence it takes its name, is indeed a great meeting-point of 
routes over easy Alpine passes, for the Col de Longet (8767 ft.) 
and the Col de Lautaret {^^26 ft.) both join it to the head of 
the Ubaye valley, while the Col de Vallante (9269 ft.) con- 
nects it with the head of the Guil valley, and so with the 
Traversette and the Croix routes. Rather to the N. of 
Monte Viso is the Col de la Traversette (9679 ft.), leading 
from the Queyras to the head of the Po valley : it is note- 
worthy by reason of the extraordinary tunnel pierced a little 
below the crest between 1478 and 1480 by Louis, IMarquess 
of Saluzzo, and Louis xi. of France, in order to facilitate 
exports, particularly of salt from Provence into Italy, and of rice 


and oil from Italy into France : the present writer has often 
passed through this ' trou ' or ' pertuis,' which later was 
blocked up by falls of rock, though reopened in 1907. Still 
more to the N. is the Colde la Croix (7576 ft.), which, even to 
this day, is the main means of communication between the 
Queyras and the Val Pellice, the principal of the Waldensian 
valleys of Piedmont : on the French side stands one of the 
small hospices built by Napoleon i., while on the Italian side 
there is a small inn, above the picturesque ruined fort of 

Now at last we come to the Mont Genevre (6083 ft), a pass 
which may be described as having long been the principal 
means of communication between France and Italy. It leads 
from Briangon at the head of the Durance valley to Susa 
and Turin. As both slopes were colonised by the Romans, 
we are not surprised to find that this pass plays a great part in 
the older records. Most probably it was crossed by Hannibal, 
while it was certainly crossed by Caesar in B.C. 58 on his way 
to the conquest of Gaul, and hence the title of ' Alpis Julia' 
conferred on it by Livy. Towards the end of the fourth 
century the route over it was described very minutely by 
Ammianus Marcellinus, this being by far the most detailed 
notice of any Alpine pass written in what may be still called 
'Roman times.' Even Strabo (first century a.d.) devotes more 
space (though that is not saying much) to this pass than to any 
other. About 574-5 it was the pass over which the wild 
Lombards surged towards Gaul, and over which the Franks 
drove them back, and occupied the valley of Susa. It was, in 
fact, the shortest route by which to reach Lombardy, and was 
perhaps taken by Charles the Great in 773 when bound on 
his first visit to Italy, which was to be rendered so memorable 
by the complete subjugation of the Lombards (774). But 
the Mont Genevre suffers from the drawback that on the W. 
side the crossing of a second pass (whether the direct Col du 
Lautaret, 6808 ft., — connected with the Mont Cenis route 
by the Col du Galibier, 8721 ft., now traversed by a military 
carriage road — or the roundabout route by Embrun and Gap 


— both certainly Roman roads) is necessary in order to reach 
the Rhone valley, so that its star paled before that of the 
Mont Cenis (accessible direct by a single valley) in the eighth 
century. Hence the Mont Genevre gradually fell to the 
position of a specially French pass, especially after the Dauphine 
was joined to France (1349), for that event brought to the 
crown of France wide regions (the valley of the Dora Riparia 
till close on Susa, and that of the Chisone till near Pinerolo) 
lying on the E. slope of the pass, and communicating with 
France most easily by it. (The Mont Cenis was, of course, 
from the eleventh century till x86o wholly in the hands of the 
House of Savoy). A single Pope (Innocent 11., in 1131) and a 
single Emperor (Frederick i., in 1177, on his way to his corona- 
tion as king of Aries) are recorded to have crossed our pass. 
It was by it that Charles viii. in 1494 went to invade Italy, 
and in 1629 it was crossed by Louis xiii., accompanied by 
Richelieu. Even after the loss of the regions on the E. (ex- 
changed for Barcelonnette in 17 13) the Mont Genevre retained 
its special character as the French pass across the Alps, and 
troops passed over it in 1859 on the way to Magenta and 
Solferino. Nowadays (despite the fact that it is crossed by a 
fine carriage road, finished in 1806) the Mont Genevre is but 
little known to foreign travellers, but it was once in the very 
first rank of Alpine passes, though its historical import- 
ance has diminished steadily, and it was practically quite super- 
seded by the Mont Cenis, of which the Savoyard side became 
French in i860. Yet it is low and easy, while on the summit 
there is a village inhabited all the year round. By means of 
the Col de Sestrieres (6631 ft.) there is an alternative route 
from Cesanne at the N. foot of the Mont Genevre, that runs 
down the Chisone valley past Fe'nestrelles to Pinerolo. 

Compared with the Mont Genevre the Mont Cenis (6893 ft.) 
has quite a short history, though by means of the narrow valley 
of the Maurienne (or of the Arc) it can be reached direct 
from Geneva, Lyons, or Grenoble, while on the other side 
its route joins that of the Mont Genevre at Susa. The name 
of 'Cenis' appears first in 739 as that of some pastures, no 


doubt those on the great plateau of the pass. But as the 
name of a pass it occurs first in 756, on the occasion of the 
crossing by Pippin. That king may have crossed it in 754 — 
he certainly then crossed some pass from the Maurienne to 
Susa, but no name is given to it. In the opinion of the 
present writer the usual pass before the eighth century from 
the Maurienne to Susa was the very easy mule pass of the 
Col de la Roue (8419 ft.), which is a little S.W. of the so-called 
Mont Cenis Tunnel, and leads in five hours past the famed 
local sanctuary of Notre Dame du Charmaix from Modane to 
Bardonneche and on to Oulx, on the Mont Genevre route : 
this pass was certainly frequented in the Middle Ages (it is 
mentioned by name as early as 1189) as it is at present by the 
natives. In any case, the Mont Cenis soon became the fashion, 
and was the pass usually traversed by the Prankish kings on 
their way to Lombardy. Between 814 and 825 Louis the Pious 
founded the Hospice on the summit (it was refounded by 
Napoleon i.), and in 877 Charles the Bald died on his way over 
the pass. With the single exception of the Great St. Bernard 
no pass in the Western Alps was so often crossed by the 
Emperors. Among others, the passage in January, 1077, by 
Henry iv. (on his way to Canossa), with his wife and suite, 
is noteworthy by reason of the very vivid account of the 
adventures of the party given by the chronicler, Lambert of 
Hersfeld. The ladies were placed on skins and so drawn 
down the icy slopes towards Italy. Naturally the princes of 
the House of Savoy frequently crossed our pass, which lay 
wholly within their dominions and led direct from their early 
capital, Chambery, to their later (from 1559 onwards) capital, 
Turin. In February, 1476, the crossing was effected by 
Yolande, Dowager-Duchess of Savoy (sister of Louis xi.), hasten- 
ing to the help of her ally, Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. 
This passage is remarkable, because we first then hear of the 
practice of 'ramassier' (later called 'glisser a la ramasse'), 
that is ' tobogganing ' on wooden sledges, guided by men called 
' marons ' (the name is almost always reserved to the men 
employed on the Mont Cenis and on the Great St. Bernard), 


by which the descent was made very quickly (even in summer) 
from the pass to Lanslebourg. Later on, most travellers (let 
Montaigne in 1581 be specially named) employed this speedy 
method, which probably was one of the minor attractions of 
the pass. The local saying was 'marrons de la Novalese, 
mulcts de Lanslebourg ' (Novalesa being the great Benedictine 
monastery between Susa and the pass, wliich flourished from 
726 to 1855). In fact, we may say confidently that if a 
traveller going from France to Italy does not name the route 
he took across the Alps, it is almost certain that it will turn 
out to have been the Mont Cenis. Yet there was only a mule 
path across the pass till Napoleon {the great road-builder in the 
Alps) had the carriage road constructed between 1803 and 
1810. For a few years, 1868-1871, a light railway (the first of 
its kind), called the ' Fell Railway ' from the name of its inven- 
tor, was worked (by English engine-drivers) right across the 
pass. But by previous contract it was unfortunately destroyed 
when the tunnel was opened in September 1871, though it 
must be carefully recollected that this tunnel is pierced at 
a spot seventeen miles W. of the Mont Cenis, and beneath the 
Col de Frejus (8294 ft.), so that it is accurately named 'Tunnel 
de Frejus.' At Bramans, about half-way between Modane and 
Lanslebourg, the main Arc valley is joined by the little known 
Ambin glen (split into three arms), from which lead various 
passes. One of these, the Col d'Etache (9144 ft.), leads over to 
Bardonneche, and another, the Col d" Ambin {()2,^:\ ft.), to Exilles. 
But more important historically is the most northerly of the 
three arms of this glen, that of Savine. From it the Fetil Mont 
Cenis (7166 ft.) leads over to the Mont Cenis plateau, and, 
while certainly crossed in 1689 by the Waldensians, has rather 
singularly been also claimed for Hannibal. This is also the 
case (according to a recent French writer) with the Col de 
Clapier {^iT T^ ft.) that leads from the head of the Savine arm 
to Susa. But the present writer, who has several times visited 
this valley, is still quite incredulous as to the passage of the 
Carthaginian army in this part of the Alps, though ' white 
rocks,' etc., are easily found there, as elsewhere. Much higher 


up the Arc valley than Bramans is Bessans, whence the Col de 
VAutaret (10,073 ft.) leads N. of the Rochemelon over to 
Lanzo, above Turin, 

The next great pass on our list is the Little St. Bernard. 
But before speaking of it let us mention two other passes. 
One, just W. of the main divide, is called the Col dti Mont 
Iseran (9085 ft.), and leads from the head-waters of the Arc 
(the Maurienne) to those of the Isere (the Tarentaise). It is 
noteworthy in that it was crossed in 1689 by the Waldensians, 
under Henri Arnaud, on their return (the ' Glorieuse Rentree ') 
to their Piedmontese valleys. In the early nineteenth century 
a legend sprang up that near the pass rose the lofty Mont 
Iseran (13,271 ft. in height), one of the giants of the Alps, 
and this peak actually appears in 1845 and 1858 in the 
publications (book and map) of the Sardinian engineers, though 
Its existence was disproved, by a personal examination of the 
region in 1859-1860 by two English travellers, Mr. William 
Mathews and Mr. J. J. Cowell — there had simply been a mis- 
placement of other lofty (though not so lofty) peaks in the 
neighbourhood. The other pass, the Col du Mont (8681 ft.) 
leads from near the W. foot of the Little St. Bernard by the 
Val Grisanche to the Aosta valley: it is indeed a kind of 
' under study ' of the Little St. Bernard, and formerly was much 
used by the natives as it is easier than the other pass : in 1792- 
1800 (especially in 1794) it was the scene of several bloody 
combats between the French and the Piedmontese. From 
the very head of the Isere valley the easy glacier pass of the 
Col de la Galise (9836 ft.) gives access to the very head of the 
Oreo glen, whence the grassy Col de la Croix de Nivokt 
(8665 ft.) leads to Aosta. 

The Little St. Bernard (7179 ft.) has a remarkably unevent- 
ful history. It was certainly crossed by Ccesar on his last 
journey from Gaul to Rome before the outbreak of the civil 
war in B.C. 49, and probably shared with the Mont Genevre 
the honour of being the regular route of Roman officials going 
to or returning from Gaul. But its later history is most meagre, 
though one might have expected that a pass which joined two 


of the oldest possessions of the House of Savoy (the valley 
of Aosta and the Tarentaise) would have played a more prom- 
inent part. Probably the fact that it was midway between the 
Mont Cenis and the Great St. Bernard was disadvantageous to 
it, as also the very steep ascent on the S.W. slope and the great 
gorge on the N.E. slope. It is true that a Hospice existed on 
the summit from the eleventh century onwards. But while the 
earlier mediaeval title of the pass (as of its neighbour) was 
* Mons Jovis ' it later (i i8i) took that of ' domus sancti Bernardi 
mentis Jovis.' From about 1466 the Hospice was served by 
the Austin canons of the Great St. Bernard, and dependent 
on the house there, while about 1500 the pass is called the 
' Mont Jouvet ' to distinguish it from the Mont Joux, or the 
Great St. Bernard — the one pass thus rising and the other 
falling. About 1750 the Hospice was handed over to the care 
of the military and religious order of SS. Maurice and Lazarus, 
which still holds it, but it was not till about 187 1 that the 
carriage road across the pass was completed. 

Nearly opposite the Little St. Bernard, across the upper 
Val d' Aosta, is the Great St. Ber?iard Pass (81 11 ft.), perhaps 
the Alpine pass which is best known by name to non-travellers. 
It seems to have been frequented even before the days of the 
Romans, and has never since then ceased to be one of the 
great thoroughfares across the Alps. The Hospice was probably 
originally placed in the early ninth century in the village of 
Bourg St. Pierre, at the foot of the last ascent on the Swiss 
side. But by 859 it probably existed on the summit of the 
pass, while it was refounded there (after the ravages of the 
Saracens from La Garde Freinet had ceased) by St. Bernard 
of Menthon (d. about 1081). Perhaps since 11 54, certainly 
since 1215, it has been served by Austin canons (who formerly 
held the Little St. Bernard Hospice, and still hold that on the 
Simplon), whose mother-house is at Martigny. One of the 
earliest detailed itineraries across it which have come down 
to us is that of Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, who went 
over the pass in 990, for the Saracens had been driven away after 
their memorable capture (973) of Majolus, the abbat of Cluny, 


on his journey. The canons at one time held many lands in 
England : in 1177 the chapel of Romford is mentioned among 
their possessions, while Henry 11. gave them the hospital of 
Hornchurch or Havering in Essex, which was acquired from 
them by William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, for the 
benefit of his great foundation (1379) of New College, Oxford, 
which still owns the property and the advowson of the living. 
The pass was a favourite one with kings and pilgrims on their 
way to Rome. In 773 Bernard, the uncle of Charles the 
Great, crossed it, and was later followed by many Emperors, 
ending with Sigismund in 14 14, if indeed we should not extend 
the list to Napoleon's famous passage in May, 1800, as he 
put himself forward as the successor of the medieval Emperors. 
Nowadays the spread of mountain railways has taken away from 
the practical importance of the Great St. Bernard, which is 
mainly frequented by Piedmontese labourers who, on their way 
to find work for the summer in Switzerland, cross this pass in 
spring and in autumn. Yet it is surprising that the carriage road 
over our pass was completed so very recently — the bit from the 
last village on the Swiss side in 1893 0"^y> ^^'^ile that from 
the last hamlet on the Italian side was not opened till 1905. 
The Col Ferret {%i\i ft.), soon to be traversed by the highest 
carriage road within Switzerland, is nearly parallel to the 
Great St. Bernard, as is the Col de la Seigne (8242 ft.) in 
relation to the Little St. Bernard. 

We must now turn eastwards along the great divide, which 
is crossed at various points by some of the oldest glacier passes 
known, in particular the Col de Fenetre (9 141 ft.), the Col de 
Collon (10,270 ft.), the St. Theoduk (10,899 ft.), and the 
Schwarzberg Weissthor (11,851 ft.): all these passes were well 
known in the first half of the sixteenth century, the Theodule 
having probably been traversed in the thirteenth century already. 
But, however interesting, they cannot be called great historical 
passes, as practically they were only used by the natives. Far 
other is the case with two other passes, both situated at the 
head of the Saas valley — the Monte Moro (9390 ft.) and the 
Antrona Pass (9331 ft.) — both leading to the Ossola valley, 


a little below Domo d'Ossola, the former by the Val Anzasca, 
and the latter by the Val Antrona. Both are mentioned in the 
thirteenth century, and in 1440 (by 1403 already in the case 
of the Monte Moro) we hear that a mule track had been 
constructed over both. The Monte Moro (the origin of the 
name is uncertain, though it certainly has nothing to do with 
' Lodovico il Moro ' of Milan) served mainly as the means of 
communication between the Italian-speaking colony at Saas 
(the traces of which can still be found by a close examination 
of the local names) dating from about 1250, and the German- 
speaking colony at Macugnaga (which still flourishes there) 
dating from between 1262 and 1291 — both were established 
by the local lord, the Count of Biandrate or Blandrate, who by 
marriage had acquired lands in the Vallais. The Antrona 
Pass, on the other hand, was for centuries the great com- 
mercial route from the Upper Vallais towards Milan, for the 
Simplon was far more difficult of access. A great landslip in 
1642 nearly destroyed the whole of the village of Antrona. 
But the paved track (bits of which are still visible) was restored 
once more in the early eighteenth century, while in 1790-2 we 
hear of large imports of salt from the Milanese across the 
pass, this being one of the chief commodities in which trade 
was carried on. But the construction of the carriage road over 
the Simplon (1801-5) put an end to the prosperity of our pass, 
which retains its character as an 'historical pass,' though it 
can no longer be called a ' great ' pass. 

The name of Swiplon appears first in 1235, if we take count 
only of authentic documents. It is then applied to the 
Hospice on the pass (6592 ft.), though the village of that name 
on the S. slope of the pass is not mentioned till 1267, when, 
however, it had a church (not merely a chapel), so that it must 
have existed for some time already. Probably its settlement 
is another case of that curious and widely diffused wave of 
colonisation from the Upper Vallais in the thirteenth century. 
It is said that Odo, Archbishop of Rouen, crossed it in 1254, 
and Pope Gregory x. in 1275. A good deal of detailed in- 
formation has been preserved to us about the tolls, and other 


arrangements (especially towards the end of the thirteenth 
century) for the transport of goods across the pass, which was 
always in the hands of the Vallaisans (especially of the Bishop 
of Sion), and is often called the ' mons Briga ' (from Brieg at its 
W. foot). But the Hospice, which had belonged to the 
Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jerusalem, gradually dis- 
appears from sight in the fifteenth century, probably because the 
Antrona Pass in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was at the 
height of its prosperity. Besides, the path over the Simplon 
was very dangerous and exposed on both sides, even if the great 
gorge of Gondo was avoided by crossing two low passes (between 
which lay the Zwischbergen valley) to the Val Bognanco, which 
leads straight down to Domo d'Ossola. In the fifteenth and 
early sixteenth century the Simplon was often crossed by the 
Vallaisans and Swiss while striving (1410-1515) to seize or hold 
the Val d'Ossola. The old Hospice was sold in 1655 to the 
Stockalper family of Brieg, which entertained travellers. But this 
pass never really rose much, if at all, beyond a route of local 
importance, till Napoleon cast his eyes upon it and realised its 
strategical importance. He caused the present carriage road to be 
constructed across it between 1801 and 1805, and built a set of 
barracks on the summit, which forms the present New Hospice 
(the Old Hospice is that built by the Stockalpers), which in 
1825 was bought by the Austin canons of the Great St. Bernard, 
and is still occupied by some members of that community. In 
1802 Napoleon detached the Vallais from the Helvetic Republic, 
raising it into a separate state as the ' Rhodanic RepubHc,' and 
annexing it (1810) to the French Empire as the ' Departement du 
Simplon,' though the region finally became Swiss in 1815. 
Very recently a tunnel has been pierced beneath the pass (it 
was opened in the spring of 1906), and so the Simplon has 
become a great international route, and has thus acquired far 
more importance than it had ever possessed previously. 


II. — The Central Alps 

The Central Alps are crossed by comparatively few Great 
Passes. Indeed, one can only reckon a good half-dozen (the 
St. Gotthard, the Lukmanier, the San Bernardino, the Spliigen, 
the Septimer, the Ofen, and the Umbrail). The passes leading 
to the Engadine have merely a local importance, save the Ofen 
and its continuation, the Fliiela. But, to make up for this 
paucity of passes over the main chain, there are a number of 
routes over the ranges that rise to the N. of the main divide, 
and often rival (if they do not surpass) it in point of height. 

The two passes over the main crest that we meet with a little 
to the N.E. of the Simplon may be dismissed briefly. One is 
the Alb run Pass (7907 ft.), leading from the Binn glen of the 
Upper Vallais to Baceno in the Val d'Ossola, above Domo : 
it has always been a smugglers' pass, being off the main route, 
while in 1425 it was crossed by the Swiss when making one of 
their raids on Domo d'Ossola. The other pass, the Gries Pass 
(8098 ft.), has a small flat glacier on the summit, which is, 
however, easily traversed by beasts of burden. It leads from 
near the very head of the Upper Vallais, through the Eginen 
glen (whence the Nufefien Pass, 8006 ft., affords a convenient 
short cut to Airolo, at the S. foot of the'St. Gotthard) to the very 
head of the Tosa valley (called here the Val Formazza, and 
lower down the Val d'Ossola) and to the splendid Tosa Falls. 
No doubt it was over the Gries that the still existing German- 
speaking colony in the Val Formazza came in the thirteenth 
century. Then, too, the Gries Pass served, in combination with 
the Grimsel (the old paved track from the latter still exists and 
reaches the upper Rhone valley close to the entrance of the 
Eginen glen), for the transport of merchandise between Italy 
and the Bernese Oberland. In 1397 representatives from the 
Oberland met those from the Val d'Ossola at Miinster (the chief 
village in the uppermost reach of the Upper Vallais) in order to 
arrange a commercial treaty for the trade between their respec- 
tive districts, including the question of making or keeping up 


the mule paths across the two passes. No doubt this commerce 
grew much when the Val d'Ossola was held by the Swiss, though 
even later (that is, after 151 5) it went on for a time. But then 
it passed away to the Antrona Pass, and, in some degree, to the 
Simplon Pass. Yet even nowadays the Gries is often crossed 
by the natives of both slopes, who thus save the great detour by 
the Simplon. 

As we have just spoken of the Grimsel, it is perhaps best to 
clear off that pass, and four others, all traversing the range N. of 
the Vallais, before going on to the pass in the Central Alps, the 
St. Gotthard. 

The Grimsel Pass (7100 ft.) is the easiest route from the 
Bernese Oberland to the Upper Vallais, and so has been 
frequented from very early times. In 1211 it was crossed by 
troops, and again in 141 9, in both cases by the Bernese making 
a raid into the Vallais. The famous Hospice at the foot of the 
last ascent on the N. slope of the pass is first mentioned in 
1479, but undoubtedly existed long before, for in 1382 the 
men of Hasle bought from the Bernese family of Bubenberg 
the Alpine pastures at the head of the Aar valley — both Hospice 
and pastures remained the property of the Hasle folk till 1902, 
when they were sold to the then lessee of the Hospice. For 
centuries a mule path alone traversed the pass, which was (as 
pointed out above) the first link in the trade route between the 
Oberland and Italy (over the Gries). But in 1895 the splendid 
new carriage road across it was opened — this descends (for the 
benefit of summer travellers) to the foot of the Rhone Glacier, 
whence the Furka Pass (7992 ft.) leads over to Uri ; but the old 
historical paved mule path still exists from the top of the 
Grimsel to the Rhone valley at Obergestelen, nearly opposite 
the Eginen valley, through which runs the Gries Pass route. 

A good way to the W. of the Grimsel the main ridge of the 
Bernese Alps is crossed by several minor historical passes — such 
as the Sanetsch Pass (7331 ft.), leading from the head of the Saane 
or Sarine valley to Sion, which is also attained by ih&Rawil Pass 
(7924 ft.) from that of the Simme. More important historically 
are two passes some distance to the E. of these — the Lbtschen 


Pass (8842 ft.), and to its W. the far better known Gemmi Pass 
(7641 ft.) The Lotschen Pass leads from the Rhone valley by 
the Lotschen valley to Kandersteg, above Frutigen ; at Kander- 
steg the route joins that over the Gemmi, which has come from 
the Rhone valley through the Dala glen and past the celebrated 
hot springs of Leukerbad. Both passes are mentioned early. 
The Lotschen Pass had a cross on it (and so must have been 
well known) in 1352, and was probably the route by which (as 
narrated in Chapter vii.) a colony from the Lotschen valley was 
transported early in the fourteenth century to the head of the 
Lauterbrunnen valley. Though there is a glacier on the summit 
of the pass, it is very easily crossed, which accounts for the fact 
that in 1384 and again in 1419 and in 1656 battles between the 
Bernese and the Vallaisans took place on the summit of the 
pass. As the Lotschen Pass was for centuries much easier to 
cross than the Gemmi, all local commerce passed over it. In 
1698, after many delays, a paved mule track was constructed on 
the Bernese slope of the pass, and traces of it are still visible. 
But the Vallaisans would not build the road on their side of 
the pass, fearing that thus Protestant influences might penetrate 
into their region. After the Gemmi path was rendered better, 
the Lotschen Pass lost much of its practical importance. But 
one of the most recent schemes for piercing a tunnel beneath 
the Bernese Alps has selected the Lotschen Pass, which may 
thus, in a way, regain much of its old position. We hear of the 
Gemmi Pass, under the Romance name of 'Curmilz' or ' Curmyz ' 
in 1252 and 13 18, from which it appears that the great plain 
extending N. from the crest towards the Frutigen valley, and 
the Hospice or inn thereon situated (now known as Schwaren- 
bach) were already within the limits of the Vallais (though 
physically within those of Berne) as they are to this day. As 
early as 1544 we have a most thrilling account (by Sebastian 
Mlinster, the geographer) of his traverse of the pass, and of the 
horrors of the bad path from Leukerbad to the pass. Later we 
read that by this bad track a horse could only carry half a proper 
load, while every cow (on its way to the pastures) required a 
man to itself. Hence in 17 40-1 a band of Tyrolese workmen 


was employed to improve the path {not to construct it for the 
first time, as is often said), and that path, with further improve- 
ments, is the winding track so well known to every Swiss 
traveller. In 1742 the inn at Schwarenbach was built, but 
was destroyed next year by an avalanche, and reconstructed 
next year in a more sheltered position. It should perhaps be 
added that the derivation of the name of the pass from 
' gemitus' (groans) has no authority to support it and is purely 
fanciful. Probably the name is a Teutonised form of the 
Romance name under which the pass is first mentioned. 

We now come to the St. Gotthard (6936 ft.), which, ever since 
it was opened up, has been the principal pass in the Central 
Alps. Its topographical position is perhaps unequalled save 
by that of the Brenner. A single river-valley (that of the 
Reuss) leads up to it on the N. slope from the plains of N. 
Switzerland, while another valley of similar character (that of 
the Ticino) leads down on the S. slope straight to the Italian 
Lakes and to the rich plains of Lombardy. At its N. foot easy 
passes facilitate communications with the head of the Rhine 
valley (by the Oberalp Pass, 6719 ft.) and with that of the 
Rhone (by the Ftirka Pass, 7992 ft.), while lower down the 
Reuss valley the Susten Pass (7422 ft.) leads W. to the Bernese 
Oberland, and the Ktausen Pass (6404 ft.) E. to Glarus. On 
the S. side the routes from the great Rsetian passes join that 
of the St. Gotthard as this nears the Italian plains. One great 
physical drawback the St. Gotthard has, however, always 
suffered from, and that, no doubt, accounts for the relatively late 
appearance of the pass in history — both the Reuss and the 
Ticino valleys are very rugged and very narrow, and so the 
tracks through them are exposed to great dangers, though to 
realise this nowadays one must not content oneself with merely 
sitting in a through train from Lucerne to Milan, but cross the 
pass on foot. These obstacles could only be overcome by the 
aid of time and patience, but when overcome, the prosperous 
future of the pass was secured. Its fortunes, too, have had an 
enormous influence on those of Lucerne, its starting-point on 
the N., for the opening of the mule path (about 1293), of the 


carriage road (1820-1830), and of the tunnel (1882) have 
marked successive great steps forward in the commercial im- 
portance of that town. 

Despite all endeavours it has not yet been found possible to 
discover a certain mention of the pass before 1236, when 
Albert, abbat of Stade (not far from Hamburg), in his Chronicle, 
describes the route over the pass which he himself seems to 
have taken on his return from Rome (which he had reached by 
way of the Mont Cenis). The route is indicated, and the pass 
is mentioned by Abbat Albert under the name of ' mons 
Elvelinus, which the Lombards call Ursare' (Ursern). The 
name St. Gotthard first occurs in the great enumeration (drawn 
up in the first years of the fourteenth century) of the Habs- 
burg possessions in Switzerland and Alsace, and the mule path 
over (as well as the earliest traders) is first mentioned in 1293, 
while the chapel and Hospice, or toll-house, on the summit are not 
expressly mentioned till 133 1. Such are the certainly ascertained 
facts — there have been many conjectures and ingenious theories 
as to all these matters, but none has as yet even attempted to 
push back the opening of this pass earlier than 12 18. Very 
probably, nay, certainly, the various facts mentioned existed 
earlier, but one cannot assign to them any earlier certain and 
fixed dates. But there is no doubt that in the fourteenth 
century the pass was well known and frequently traversed, being 
the great route by which merchandise passed through Switzer- 
land between Germany and Italy, while in the fifteenth century 
it much facilitated the conquest of the Italian bailiwicks by the 
Swiss of which we have spoken in Chapter vii. It is noteworthy, 
however, that no mediaeval Emperor seems ever to have crossed 
our pass, the historical importance of which, till our own time, 
has been commercial and not political (save to a very small 
extent), in striking contrast to the Mont Cenis. 

The greatest obstacle on the N. side of the pass was the 
SchoUenen gorge just below Andermatt and above Goschenen 
(it is avoided by the railway). Not to speak of the legends 
connected with the old Devil's Bridge (which fell in 1888), the 
problem was how to overcome the rocky slopes above it, in 


order to reach the basin in which Andermatt stands. In the 
Habsburg ' terrier ' of the early fourteenth century (see above) we 
find a mention of the ' stiebende Briicke ' (the ' spray-washed ' 
bridge), which was a narrow wooden terrace about 200 ft. long, and 
suspended, at a great height above the rushing Reuss, by chains 
on the precipitous rocky mountain face. Save a rough path 
above the other bank of the Reuss, this frail bridge (which had 
to be constantly renewed) was for ages the sole means of access 
to Andermatt direct from Lucerne. It hung on the outer wall 
of the short tunnel called the ' Urnerloch,' which was only 
pierced in 1707, and made wide enough for carriages in 1830. 
Schiller, in his play William Tell (1804), first confounds the 
' stiebend Briicke ' with the Devil's Bridge, and then makes the 
' Urnerloch ' exist at the same time — two poetical anachronisms. 
As early as July 25, 1775, an enterprising English traveller, Mr. 
Greville, the mineralogist, succeeded in crossing the pass in a 
light chaise, without taking his conveyance to pieces : Saussure 
records how he met this adventurous spirit the same even- 
ing at the Hospice. But it was not till 1820-1830 that the 
carriage road was constructed over the pass to meet the rivalry 
of those then built over the San Bernardino and the Spliigen, 
while the great railway tunnel was pierced in 187 2-1 880, and, 
with the railway lines leading to it, was opened for traffic 
in 1882. 

The name of the pass is taken from that of a Bishop of 
Hildesheim, who died in 1038 and was canonised in 1132. 
The only reason that has as yet been discovered for this curious 
dedication is the fact that in Milan the festival of that saint 
(May 4) was (according to the city statutes of 121 5) a 'red 
letter ' day, on which courts did not sit, while in the same 
city there is a church (built 1 328-1 339) bearing his name, San 
Gottardo in Corte (in the ducal palace). A better Hospice on 
the summit was built in 143 1 in order to house the Archbishop 
of Milan (to whom the S. side of the pass, as well as part of 
the N. slope, belonged) on his way to the Council of Bale, and 
in 1496 we hear that it was inhabited by a lay brother. St. 
Charles Borromeo (Archbishop of Milan, 1 560-1 584) intended 


to enlarge both, but it was only in 1623 that a better house 
was built for the priest, and in 1683 a new Hospice, which was 
intrusted to the care of a few Capuchins, of whom all travellers 
speak with grateful recognition. An avalanche in 1775 
destroyed all the buildings save the Hospice itself, while the 
reconstructed buildings, besides the chapel, perished at the 
hands of the French in 1799. The new Hospice was only 
erected in 1834, but was burnt in 1905, though no doubt it 
will soon be rebuilt. The hotel opposite it was built in 1867, 
and did not perish in the fire of 1905. From Airolo, at the 
S. foot of the pass, the easy San Giacomo Pass (7573 ft.) leads 
over to Tosa Falls on the Gries Pass route, and thus connects 
the St. Gotthard with the Simplon. 

This is perhaps the best place at which to insert a short 
notice of some minor lateral passes in the Central Alps, which 
indirectly owe their historical fame to the St. Gotthard. In 
late September 1799 Suvorofif, with a considerable (21,000 men) 
Russian arnw, succeeded in forcing the passage of the 
St. Gotthard against the French. He desired to join the 
other Russian army, at or near Zurich. But, having reached 
Altdorf, he found his way blocked, for the French had seized 
all the boats on the Lake of Lucerne, and no road then existed 
along the E. shore of the lake. He was therefore forced to 
cross (September 27-8) the Kinzigkulm Fass (681 1 ft.) to 
the head of the Muota valley. But his progress down that 
valley towards Schwyz was stopped after a bloody battle with 
the French. So he had again to ' double back ' and to cross 
(last days of September and first of October) the Pragel Fass 
(5099 ft.) to Glarus, hoping thence to follow the Linth or 
Limmat valley direct to Zurich. But he was once more foiled 
by the French commanders and compelled to cross yet a third 
pass (October 5-6), the Fanixer Fass (7897 ft.), in order to gain 
the Rhine valley, above Coire, and so was able to rejoin his 
friends at Feldkirch, two days later. None of these passes 
(all well known to the present \vriter) is in itself really difficult, 
save the steep N. side of the Panixer, but they offer great 
obstacles to the passage of a considerable army, harassed by 


a watchful enemy, and much hindered by the bad weather of 
a stormy autumn, so that Suvoroff's feat is one of the most 
remarkable recorded in the military history of the Alps. 

The next pass over the main chain on our list is the 
Lukmanier (6289 ft.), leading from the great Benedictine 
monastery of Disentis, near the head of the Vorder Rhine 
valley, by the Middle Rhine valley and the Val Blenio to 
Biasca, on the St. Gotthard route. But, save for a short time 
in the nineteenth century (1839-1880), when it was doubtful 
whether the great railway tunnel beneath the Central Alps 
should be pierced under the Lukmanier or the St. Gotthard, 
the Lukmanier has always been overshadowed by its greater 
neighbours, so that its real historical importance relates to the 
period when these rivals were little known or traversed by 
bad roads or paths. However it was crossed by Otto i. in 965 
and by Henry 11. in 1004, as well as by Frederick i. in 1146 
and again in 1186, and by Sigismund in 143 1 (perhaps in 
141 3 also) — we thus again come across the Emperor whom we 
heard of on the Great St. Bernard. About 1374 the reigning 
abbat of Disentis (who in 1570 became a Prince of the 
Empire) built two Hospices (there were five in all) on the route, 
one, that of Santa Maria, being on the summit of the pass — 
it still exists as a modest inn, and the pass is thence sometimes 
named the ' Pass of St. Mary ' ; another name for the pass is 
the ' Pass of St. Barnabas,' owing to its close connection with 
the see of Milan, to which the Val Blenio, like the Val 
Leventina, belonged, and also to the dedication of one of the 
Hospices, this one being situated at Casaccia on the E. slope of 
the pass. But the foundation of these Hospices by the abbat 
of Disentis emphasises the character of our pass, as, after the 
opening of the St. Gotthard, a feeble rival of that great highway, 
but especially useful for the Rsetians as a means of communica- 
tion with their Swiss allies in the Italian bailiwicks, after their 
conquest in the fifteenth century. In 1 581 St. Charles Borromeo 
crossed the Lukmanier. As early as 1780 the abbat of Disentis 
began the construction of a road across his pass. But there 
were formidable technical difficulties in the gorge through which 


(or above which) one must mount from Disentis to Curaglia, 
the first village. Finally, a remarkable road through this gorge 
and across to Olivone, at the head of the Val Blenio, was 
constructed 187 1-7, but, though well worthy of being seen, it 
has failed to attract tourists. The Lukmanier is now quite off 
the main line of traffic, serving only as a local route, the 
St. Gotthard having drawn to itself most of the traffic (never 
a very great stream) that dribbled over the Lukmanier. 

We come next to the three passes which lead direct from 
Coire to Italy, which is reached at Como by the San Bernardino, 
but at Chiavenna by the Spliigen and the Septimer. 

The San Bernardino (6769 ft.) route, like that of the Spliigen, 
follows the course of the main or Hinter Rhine nearly to its 
sources, and then turns S. to cross the Alps. Throughout the 
entire Middle Ages it bore the name of the 'mons avium,' 
' Vogelberg,' or ' Monte Uccello ' {i.e. the ^ pass of the birds,' 
in three languages), and to this day there rises some way to 
its W. a peak called the Vogelberg, while on the E. the pass is 
overhung by another point, named the Pizzo Uccello. But 
some time in the second half of the fifteenth century, this 
name gave way to the present one, given in honour of San 
Bernardino of Siena, who had wandered through the N. parts 
of Lombardy as a missionary preacher and was canonised in 
1450, six years after his death — a chapel on the S. slope of the 
pass was dedicated to him. It is possible that the left wing of 
the Frankish army crossed this pass in 590 on its w-ay to attack 
the Lombards. More certain is it that in the winter of 941 Willa 
(wife of Berengar, Marquess of Ivrea), though far advanced in 
pregnancy, fled across it, to escape from Hugh, king of Italy. 
Much later, in the winter of 1799, Lecourbe, with a French 
army, traversed the pass. But no doubt, it, like the Spliigen, 
was kept for long in the background through the difficulties of 
getting through or round the Via Mala gorge, above Thusis. 
Probably it served only the local traffic between the German- 
speaking colony at the sources of the Rhine with the Italian 
bailiwicks held by the Swiss, especially after, in 1496, the Val 
Mesocco (on its S. slope) came into the hands of the Ra3tians, 


who thus had direct access to the St. Gotthard route. In 
1818-1823 the present fine carriage road was built over the 
pass, and, like that of the St. Gotthard, lies for its whole 
length within Swiss territory. Most of the expenses were 
borne by the king of Sardinia, who wished to secure for him- 
self a road across the Alps, which should not be in the hands 
of the Habsburgers. 

A little to the E. of the San Bernardino is the Splilgen Pass 
(6946 ft.). Though possibly mentioned by the Peutinger Table 
(fourth century) under the still unexplained name of ' Cunu 
aureu,' this pass has scarcely had a more eventful history than 
the San Bernardino, both having been overshadowed (till 
carriage roads were built across them) by the Septimer. Its 
mediaeval name was the ' Urschler ' (mount of bears), perhaps 
given in contrast to the ' mount of birds ' or the San Bernardino. 
The first rough road which traversed the S. bit of the Via 
Mala was constructed as far back as 1473, apparently with 
the desire to set up a rival to the route over the Septimer, 
that was entirely in the hands of the Bishop of Coire. But 
the Via Mala was only rendered practicable throughout, when, 
1818-1823, the road was constructed over the pass itself; the 
chief difficulty, apart from that gorge, was the Cardenello gorge 
on the S. side, where, in the early winter of 1800, the French, 
under Marshal Macdonald, encountered very great difficulties. 
This road increased the number of travellers who crossed the 
pass (the commercial importance of which was never great 
despite the almost total absence of tolls), for, even to-day, it is 
(with the exceptions of the rather longer San Bernardino and 
the much longer Lukmanier) the one carriage road by which 
it is possible to go from Rstia (the Grisons) to Italy, crossing 
one ridge only (the roads through the Engadine involve the 
passage of two ridges, while the Septimer has never yet obtained 
a carriage road). The valley of San Giacomo, on the S. side 
of the pass, is now Italian, but from 151 2 to 1797 (with 
Chiavenna) it belonged to the Three Rsetian Leagues who had 
taken it from the Milanese — it had formed part of the Cisalpine 
or Italian Republics from 1797 to 1805, and of the Napoleonic 


kingdom of Italy from 1805 to 1814, when it fell (with Chiavenna 
etc.) to the Habsburgers of Milan, who only lost it in 1859 to 
the Sardinian king soon to rule over united Italy. 

By far the most important historically of all the Grisons 
Alpine passes is the Septinier {^']^Z2 ft.), though nowadays it is 
hardly known even by name. Yet in 1128 it was reported 
(not quite accurately) to be the mountain in which both the 
Rhine and the Inn take their source ; it is mentioned in the 
thirteenth century by the poet Gottfried of Strassburg in his 
Tristan, and in 1330 it was said to mark the limit between 
Germany and Lombardy, while early in the fourteenth century 
it was noted as one of the boundaries of the possessions 
of the Habsburgers. In itself it is an extremely easy pass, 
leading from Bivio-Stalla (not far from the W. foot of the 
Julier Pass) to Casaccia, at the W. foot of the Maloja, and the 
highest village in the Val Bregaglia, down which one goes 
direct to Chiavenna. It is also easily reached from both sides. 
On the N. slope, there were two routes from Coire to Bivio- 
Stalla — the more arduous led by a path from Thusis over the 
slopes N. of the gorge now known as the Schyn Pass to 
Tiefenkastell, where it was joined by the easier, which had 
come from Coire past the twelfth century Premonstratensian 
monastery of Churwalden and over the Lenzerheide (a great 
tract of heath), 5089 ft. ; both routes thus avoided the horrors 
of the Via Mala by which the Spliigen and the San Bernardino 
were necessarily attained. From Bivio the slope giving access 
to the pass is gradual, while the descent on the S. side to 
Casaccia, though steeper than the ascent, is short and direct, 
the fertile Val Bregaglia being soon gained. It was thus not 
necessary to cross more than one ridge on the journey, while 
(and herein lay the great practical advantage of the pass) the 
entire route from Coire till near Chiavenna (as well as to that 
town and down to the head of the Lake of Como, from 15 12 to 
1797) was in the hands (directly or through his vassals) of the 
Bishop of Coire, the most powerful of the many Rjetian feudal 
lords. It was therefore the interest of the bishop to facilitate 
the transit across this pass, as thereby he (or his guarantees) 


obtained more revenues from tolls and way dues. It is there- 
fore not surprising to hear that in 1359 the reigning bishop (who 
happened to be the Imperial Chancellor) prevailed on the 
Emperor Charles iv. to issue a formal prohibition to use any 
other Alpine road in the region but this. 

Tlie pass is mentioned in Roman times by both the Antonine 
Itinerary and the Peutinger Table. The first recorded passage 
was that of Landulus, Bishop of Treviso, in 895, while in the 
same year we hear of two Roman musicians, who crossed on 
their way from Rome to St. Gall (to improve the church music 
there), one of whom fell very ill on the way over the pass. 
Many Emperors traversed this pass, the number being only 
exceeded by those w-ho took the route by the Brenner or by 
the Great St. Bernard. In fact, in the earlier Middle Ages the 
Septimer was the great route from Germany into Italy. The 
first mention of a Hospice (never a large one) on the pass dates 
from 831, but it was refounded in the early twelfth century by 
the Bishop of Coire, and rebuilt in 1542: it is now in ruins, 
though there is some idea of reconstructing it for the use of 
skiers, the new sort of winter pilgrims in this region. Remains 
of a solidly built paved track are found at various points on 
the route over this pass. It was long thought that they dated 
back to Roman times, but it has now been shown that they 
formed part of the new cart track constructed in 1387 by Jacob 
von Castelmur, a high episcopal official (and grantee of the 
tolls over the pass) in the Val Bregaglia. The tolls levied on 
this route produced great sums. But naturally, after the 
construction, in the first half of the nineteenth century, of good 
carriage roads over the Spliigen, the San Bernardino, the 
Julier, and the Maloja, the great advantage of the Septimer 
disappeared, and the pass is now visited only by a few curious 
wanderers. Yet, in its time, it was more than a rival of the 
greatest Alpine passes. 

As hinted above, the passes leading to and from the 
Engadine have merely a local interest, save the Qfen, with the 
Fliiela, its continuation, and (in the Eastern Alps) the Reschen 
Scheideck. Even the opening (1903) of the railway under 


the Albula Pass (7595 ft.) meant simply an easier route to the 
Engadine, and not the opening of a great international route 
across the Alps, and the same will be true when a line is 
constructed over the Maloja Pass (5935 ft.) from the head 
of the Engadine to Chiavenna. As there still exist many 
misapprehensions on the subject, it may be worth while to 
explain the real historical origin of the two rude pillars called 
Julius' columns, which stand on the summit of the Julier Pass 
(7504 ft.). It is known that in 1396 and 1407 a single column 
rose here, as a boundary stone, that between 1538 and 1572 
it was broken into three bits, that one of these bits disappeared 
in some unknown fashion, and that some time between 16 18 
and 1703 another bit was set up as a second column — these 
dates are taken from contemporary writers who either visited 
the pass themselves or had trustworthy reports from those 
who had been there. The natural continuation of the Julier 
is either the Maloja to Chiavenna, or the Bernina Pass 
(7645 ft.) to the Valtelline. 

In the tangled country E. of the Bernina Pass the Passo di 
Val Viola (7976 ft.) leads from near the summit of the Bernina 
Pass to Bormio. But more important historically, in connection 
with Rohan's campaign of 1635 against the Imperial troops, are 
the passes leading from the Livigno valley (still Italian, though 
on the N. slope of the Alps and sending its waters by the Spol 
to the Inn at Zernetz) in various directions — the Forcola di 
Livig?io (7638 ft.) S. to the Bernina Pass, the Casana Pass 
(8832 ft.) W. to Scanfs, in the Upper Engadine, and the 
Alpisella Pass (7497 ft.) E. past the sources of the Adda and 
through the Fraele glen to Bormio. 

Let us now go on to the Ofen Pass (7071 ft.) which leads 
from Zernetz in the Lower Engadine to the Miinster valley, and 
so on to the Vintschgau or upper valley of the Adige in the 
Tyrol, while from Siis, in the Lower Engadine, about four miles 
below Zernetz, the Flikla Pass (7838 ft.) leads over to Davos, 
and then down the Landquart valley to the Rhine valley, 
which is gained about nine miles above Coire. These two 
passes thus formed a direct and comparatively easy route from 


Coire to the Tyrol, even after, in 1652, the Lower Engadine 
ceased to be Tyrolese, and became Swiss. By means of the 
second pass in particular, the Bishop of Coire was long able 
to maintain his authority in the Vintschgau, and in the 
Miinster valley. This route was possibly taken in 12 12 by the 
Emperor Frederick 11. (who more probably went by way of the 
Tonale, Aprica, and Septimer Passes), and by Sigismund in 
141 3. But of course it was rather out of the way, lying as it 
did between the far more frequented tracks over the Septimer, 
the Umbrail Pass, and the Brenner. The Ofen Pass takes its 
name from some iron mines ('ovens' or 'Fuorn,' furnaces) 
worked near it in the sixteenth century and earlier, but is often 
wrongly called the Buffalora Pass, that name properly belonging 
to another pass (7723 ft., also called Giufplan) that leads to 
Bormio through the Fraele glen. The road over the Ofen was 
built in 1870-1, and that over the Fliiela in 1867, but the inn 
near the Ofen Pass was well known in the sixteenth century, 
while the Hospice on the Fliiela is also far older than the 
carriage road. Still farther down the Lower Engadine is the 
easy glacier Fernwnt Pass (9193 ft.), formerly much frequented 
and leading from Guarda in the Lower Engadine to the head of 
the Montafon valley in the Vorarlberg, and so to Bludenz 
on the Arlberg route, or across the lower Bielerhohe Pass 
(6631 ft.) to the Tyrolese Paznaun valley, and so to 

Our last pass in the Central Alps is the Umbrail Pass (8242 
ft.), which of old bore also the names of 'mons Braulius' 
(from St. Braulius, Bishop of Saragossa, in the seventh century) 
and of 'Juga Raetica,' as well as of 'Wormserjoch' {i.e. the 
pass to Bormio, the German name of which is 'Worms'). It 
leads from the head of the Adige valley or the Vintschgau by 
the Miinster valley to Bormio, at the head of the Adda valley or 
the Valtelline. On the S. side a short descent gives access at 
the fourth Cantoniera to the route over the Stelvio Pass or 
Stilfserjoch (9055 ft.). But as the N. slope of the Stelvio is very 
steep and rugged, while that of the Umbrail is comparatively 
easy, the last named was, throughout the Middle Ages, the main 


route from the Vintschgau direct to the Lake of Como. The 
Stelvio was, indeed, crossed now and then by armies (1496, 
1 63 1, 1634,) but served as a pass only in case of necessity. 
The roles of the two passes were reversed, at any rate for a time, 
when the Austrian Government (which had in 181 4 received the 
Valtelline, while in 1762 it had parted with the upper Miinster 
valley to Switzerland) built (1820-5) the magnificent carriage 
road over the Stelvio, which is still the loftiest carriage road in 
the Alps. Much more recently the Swiss Government has con- 
structed ( 1 900-1) a good carriage road over the Umbrail from 
the Miinster valley to the fourth Cantoniera on the Stelvio, 
such a road having been planned (it is said) by Napoleon, who 
selected that route rather than the Stelvio : this road is the 
third highest carriage road in the Alps (it is the highest in 
Switzerland), that over the Col du GaHbier (8721 ft.), in the 
Dauphine Alps, coming between it and the Stelvio. By a 
curious coincidence none of these three passes traverses the 
main ridge of the Alps, each leading over one of its lateral spurs. 
It should be borne in mind that between 1762 (purchase of the 
upper Miinster valley) and 1797 (loss of the Valtelline), the 
whole way over the Umbrail belonged to the Three Rstian 
Leagues, that is, practically to Switzerland. Now, of course, 
since 1859, the S. slope of that pass, as well as of the Stelvio, is 
Italian. The Umbrail Pass served mainly the local trade 
between the Vintschgau and the Valtelline. But it obtained 
considerable political importance during the long struggle, 1620- 
1639 (briefly noticed in Chapter vii.), for the Valtelline, the valley 
which enabled the Habsburgers of the Tyrol to communicate 
directly with the Habsburgers of Milan. Naturally, the com- 
mercial importance of both the Umbrail and of the Stelvio was 
practically destroyed when in 1864-7, the wholly Austrian railway 
was opened over the Brenner Pass, as the Vintschgau trade of 
course flowed E.S.E. down the Adige valley to Botzen, on that 
line, while that of the Valtelline (Italian since 1859) as natur- 
ally found its outlet westwards in the direction of the Lake of 
Como. But in the Middle Ages the Umbrail was the great 
route between the aforesaid regions, and indeed to districts 


more to the N. by way of the Reschen Scheideck and the 
Arlberg Passes, of which we will speak presently. 

III. — The Eastern Alps 

In this division of the great Alpine chain the Brentier Pass 
(4495 ft.) occupies a position of far greater importance than 
does any single pass in either the Western or the Central Alps. 
Many of the other passes in the Eastern Alps (such as the 
Reschen Scheideck, the Arlberg, the Tonale, the Aprica, even 
the Ampezzo, and the Plocken) stand to it in the light of 
feeders or branches, and can scarcely claim an independent 
position of their own. The case only alters as we get still 
farther E., when the Alps spread out (to use a comparison 
already employed in these pages) like the sticks of a fan, so that 
the traveller, after leaving the plains of Italy, and before reach- 
ing those of Austria, has to cross three ridges — the first by the 
Ampezzo, the Monte Croce (Plocken), the Pontebba (Saifnitz), 
or the Predil Passes ; the second by the Radstadter Tauern ; 
and the third by the Pyhrn Pass or through the Lueg gorge. 
Finally, at the extreme E. limit of these ridges we find the 
Birnbaumer Wald and the Semmering, both rather methods of 
getting round the last spurs of the Alps than of crossing them, 
and so parallel with the route from Genoa to Marseilles along 
the edge of the Mediterranean, rather than with Alpine passes 
strictly so called. 

The history of the Brenner Pass is almost co-extensive mth 
that of the Eastern Alps, or of the relations between Germany 
and Italy, whether they be looked at from a political, a com- 
mercial, or a military point of view. By far the lowest of all the 
Alpine passes across the main chain of the Alps, reached on 
either side by straight-drawn valleys leading up to a single 
ridge, it forms a natural highway over the Alps. Its authentic 
recorded history starts with the passage (b.c. 15) of Drusus, the 
stepson of Augustus, on his way to conquer the northern Bar- 
barians, and among them the tribe of the Breones, or Breuni, 


which gave its name for ever to the pass, and had its name em- 
balmed in the verses of Horace. Later on, the Brenner became 
a great route by means of which the Romans pursued and 
attained many mihtary and commercial successes. Most pro- 
bably it was the pass over which the Barbarians poured in the 
fifth century towards the fertile plains of Italy, and (as pointed 
out at the commencement of this chapter) the route 'per Alpes 
Noricas' (our pass without a doubt) was expressly mentioned 
by Charles the Great when elaborating in 806 his scheme for 
the division of his Empire among his sons. Still later, it was 
over the Brenner that the vast majority of the Emperors went on 
their way to or from Rome, so that on at least one-half of 
these expeditions (dating from the ninth to the fifteenth cen- 
turies) the route selected was that over our pass. Gradually, as 
minor feudal lords gave way to the dynasty of the Counts of the 
Tyrol, the Brenner became more and more a specifically Tyrolese 
pass, especially when in 1363 the county of the Tyrol passed into 
the hands of the powerful family of the Habsburgers. Being 
thus held by a single dynasty, capable of pushing its interests, 
this great highway, though it lost in a way its character as a 
route open to all nations, yet prospered because of the atten- 
tion that its new owners devoted to improving the means of 
communication across it. The quaint old track, constructed 
(or at any rate greatly improved) between 13 14-17 by the 
enterprising Heinrich Kunter, burgher of Botzen, meant that 
the old Roman path high above the gorges between Klausen 
and Botzen was abandoned in favour of a path in the Eisack 
valley itself. Yet this new track was very rough and bad, so 
that not unfrequently travellers preferred the short cut from the 
Brenner over the Jaufen Pass, 6870 ft. (called, like the Great 
St. Bernard, ' mons Jovis ' — in the Middle Ages the name took 
the form of ' Jouven '), which was probably known to the 
Romans, to the Adige valley that was reached at Meran. 
Further, the rise of the Venetian power on the mainland in the 
early fifteenth century threatened the prosperity of the Brenner, 
for the route naturally preferred by the Venetian rulers was that 
over the Ampezzo Pass (5066 ft.), by Belluno, the Piave valley, 


and past Cortina to Toblach, close to the Toblach Pass{i^e^ ft.) 
leading from the Brenner route to the head of the Drave valley. 
That road kept the merchants on their journeys for the longest 
distance in Venetian territory, while it was early passable for 
light carriages and carts. Hence from 1483 onwards the old 
Kunter track was greatly improved by Sigismund, the reigning 
Count of the Tyrol, gunpowder being employed to remove 
various obstacles, so that this track also became passable for 
carriages and carts. His efforts were seconded, towards the 
N., by the rulers of Bavaria. But it was not till much later, in 
1772, that a modern carriage road was constructed across the 
pass. Naturally, after the Habsburgers secured (1803, finally 
1814) the territories of the Bishops of Trent and Brixen, still 
more attention was paid to our pass, which now became a most 
important means of communication between Austria proper and 
the Milanese and the Veneto, held from 18 15 onwards by the 
sovereigns of Austria. Yet when this political convenience 
had ceased to be of practical interest (the Milanese and the W. 
Veneto were lost to Austria in 1859 and the E. Veneto in 
1866), the commercial advantages of the pass were such that, 
between 1864 and 1867, ^ railway was constructed across it, 
this being the first line carried over the Alps, while the carriage 
road of 1772 had also been the first of its kind. 

Something must now be said as to the side passes which we 
have described above as ' feeders ' or branches of the great high- 
A^ay of the Brenner, 

{a) To the W. there are two pairs of passes, each item of 
which taken alone has but local importance, though if the two 
composing each pair are crossed, a route is more or less made 
to the other side of certain mountain chains. 

The first pair is made up of the Tonale Pass (61S1 ft.) 
and of the Aprica Pass (3875 ft.). The road over the former 
leaves the Adige valley a little to the N. of Trent in order to 
mount the Noce valley (called in its lower half the Val di Non 
or Nonsberg, and in its upper half, the Val di Sole or Sulzberg) 
past Cles (where falls in the road from Botzen over the Mendel 
Pass, 4462 ft.) to the pass (not far from which, on the old 


track, is the Hospice of St. Bartholomew, founded in 1127), 
whence it descends to Edolo, at the head of the Val Camonica 
or of the OgHo, that runs down to the Lake of Iseo. From 
Edolo the low Aprica Pass gives access to the Valtelline, which 
is reached a little below Tirano. Any one who combines these 
two passes finds that he must cross yet another, such as the 
Septimer, in order to reach the N. slope of the Alps. But 
formerly the practical convenience of this route was that it lay 
entirely, save the bits near Edolo (which are in the Bergamasca, 
and so were Venetian 1428-1797, and Austrian 1815-1859) 
within the dominions of the Prince-bishops of Trent and Coire. 
Hence it would naturally be taken by any traveller who found 
the Brenner blocked to him, but enjoyed the friendship of 
either or both. Such seems to have been the case of the 
Emperor Frederick 11. in 1212, who apparently crossed these 
two passes on the way from Trent to Coire, being accompanied 
in his hurried journey by the bishops of these two cities. 
Apparently Frederick i. in 11 66 did the same, but Charles iv. 
in 1355 crossed the Aprica only, while in 1327 Louis the 
Bavarian went from Trent to Bergamo over the Tonale. 

The second pair of passes is formed by those of the Reschen 
Scheideck (4902 ft.) and the Arlberg (5912 ft.). The former 
leads from Botzen past Meran through the Vintschgau or upper 
Adige valley to the Inn valley, that is descended to Landeck on 
the Arlberg route, which thence bears due W. and reaches the 
Rhine valley at Feldkirch, some way S. of Bregenz. The 
former pass taken alone is simply a parallel way to that over 
the Brenner, while the second, if taken alone, is the direct road 
from Innsbruck to the Vorarlberg. Combined, they form a rather 
more direct route, from Botzen to Constance, than the Brenner, 
The Reschen Scheideck is now usually known by that name. 
But formerly it was often called the ' Malserheide,' from the 
great heathy tract on its S. slope, above the ancient town of 
Mais, while another name, that of Finstermiinz Pass, was 
derived from the narrow gorge at its N. foot, through which it 
was necessary to pass from Martinsbruck (now the last hamlet 
in the Swiss Lower Engadine, but till 1652 in the Tyrol) to 


Pfunds (at its E. end), now reached direct from the pass 
itself by a splendidly engineered road, carried high above 
the gorge. An ancient tower in the gorge proves its early 
importance, as formerly one had to pass it, along the bank of the 
wild Inn, here enclosed between two lofty rock walls. The 
Hospice of St. Valentine on the Reschen Scheideck was 
founded in 1140, but on the very summit of the pass there is 
now a village, Reschen, inhabited all the year round. This 
pass was of historical importance in the Middle Ages, when the 
Bishop of Coire was struggling to maintain his footing in the 
Vintschgau against the rising power of the Counts of the Tyrol. 
On the other hand, the Arlberg (first mentioned in 1218 as a 
frequented pass) acquired more importance at a later period, 
especially after 1363, when the Habsburgers obtained the 
Tyrol, and then added to their domains first (1375) Feldkirch, 
then (1394) Bludenz and the Montafon valley, and finally (145 1 
and 1523) the county of Bregenz, thus establishing their power 
firmly in the district ' before ' the Arlberg Pass (when looked 
at from the point of view of a traveller on his way to Innsbruck) 
on the right bank of the Rhine, between Coire and the Lake 
of Constance. It has been contended that the Arlberg was 
traversed by a Roman road, but this view does not seem to 
be supported by sufficient evidence. Yet as early as 945 
Berengar 11., king of Italy, seems to have crossed both our 
passes on his way from Swabia to Botzen. A mule path 
was built over the Arlberg in 1309, and the Hospice of St. 
Christopher founded in 1385, the chief utility of the pass 
being the transport of salt from the mines of Hall near Inns- 
bruck. This path must have been improved by 1414, when we 
hear that the Pope John xxiii., on the way to the Council of 
Constance, had the misfortune to have his light carriage upset, 
and so was thrown out into the snow (it was the month of 
October). In 1499 ^.nd again during the Wars of 1632-4 
efforts were made to improve the track, but they were simply 
sporadic and led to no permanent results. The actual carriage 
road was constructed at intervaL between 1785 and 1824 
(though improved in 1848-9) to meet the competition of the 


Swiss, who desired to divert traffic from Feldkirch to the 
Thurgau, while the railway which burrows beneath the pass was 
built in 1880-4. But it may be stated generally that, till recently, 
the Arlberg was mainly a ' salt pass,' and comparatively little 
attention was paid to the maintenance of the track, particularly 
on the W, or Vorarlberg side. Two curious results of this want 
of enterprise may be noted. On the one hand, the rise of the 
flourishing cotton-spinning industry in the Vorarlberg (the 
raw material coming from Trieste) dates from the final construc- 
tion (from 1785 onwards) of a road over the pass. But on the 
other hand, the bad state of that road (especially on the W. 
side) is credibly believed to have been largely responsible for 
the steady refusal (even as lately as 1848 and 185 9- 1860) of the 
Vorarlbergers to consent to a close political union with the 
Tyrol, with which they are only joined by a slight administrative 
tie, though reasons of practical convenience would seem to make 
the complete incorporation of the Vorarlberg with the Tyrol a 
very desirable object. 

The Arlberg Pass, besides directly connecting the Inn and the 
Rhine valleys, and so the routes that pass by Innsbruck and 
Coire, join both to the Bavarian plains and Munich by means 
of the Fer7i Pass (3970 ft.) and of Scharnitz or Seefeld Pass 
(3874 ft.), which thus act as 'feeders.' 

{b) To the E. of the Brenner there is another pair of side 
passes, of which we must now speak. Of one of these, the 
Ampezzo Pass (5066 ft.), leading from Belluno by Cortina to 
Toblach, mention has been made above. Its importance rose 
with the advance of Venetian power on the mainland in the 
early fifteenth century, for it was the most direct route from 
Venice towards the N.W., and Central Germany. As it was 
early made passable for light carriages and carts, it was a formid- 
able rival for long both to the main line of the Brenner, S. of 
Brixen, and to the Pontebba Pass on the E. However, it was all 
but exclusively a commercial pass, over which the spoils of the 
East went from Venice to Central Germany, and never seems to 
have possessed any great military or political importance. After 
the Ampezzo valley fell into the hands of the Habsburgers in 1 5 1 7 


the whole pass became more and more Tyrolese, as both slopes 
were thenceforth held by that powerful dynasty. The Ampezzo 
Pass has become of importance to pleasure travellers only within 
the last thirty or forty years, the fine carriage road having been 
constructed in 1 829-1 830. 

Farther to the E. is the second pass which must be considered 
under this head, the Plocken Pass, Kreuzberg, or Monte Croce 
(4462 ft.), leading from Lienz on the upper Drave past Mauthen 
and Tolmezzo to Udine (Friuli), and to be carefully distinguished 
from another Monte Croce Pass (5374 ft.) a little to its W., and 
leading from Innichen in the upper Drave valley to Cadore and 
Belluno. The Plocken Pass is an odd little pass that never seems 
to have met with due recognition. Possibly this was because the 
traveller who had come over it from Udine to Mauthen in the 
Gail valley (Carinthia) found himself obliged to cross yet another 
ridge by the Gailberg Pass (3182 ft.) in order to gain the upper 
Drave valley, and then yet a third ridge, the Toblach Pass 
(3967 ft.) to Toblach, if he was bound for the Pusterthal and the 
Brenner route. Another reason for the neglect of the Plocken 
Pass was the fact that its neighbours, the Brenner, the Ampezzo, 
and the Pontebba, were too strong for it. Yet our pass is 
described in the Antonine Itinerary, while to this day on or 
close to its summit there are still to be seen and deciphered no 
fewer than three Roman inscriptions, dating from the second to 
the fourth century of the Christian era. About 567 it was crossed 
by the Gaulish poet, Venantius Fortunatus, who calls the second 
passage (the Gailberg) from the Gail valley to that of the Drave 
by the name of the ' Alpis Julia,' a denomination that for once 
can be satisfactorily explained, as it is taken from the Italian 
name (Val Zellia) of the Gail valley. The main pass is named 
'mons Crucis' in documents of 1184, 1234, and 1296, which 
show that it was used by traders who desired to avoid the tolls 
levied on those crossing the Pontebba Pass. It played a small 
part in various local wars in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seven- 
teenth centuries, though it was honoured by the presence of 
but a single Emperor, Rupert, in 1401. It never had much 
commercial importance, save when the neighbouring passes 


were closed for one reason or another, but such as it had was 
ruined by the construction first of the carriage road (1836), 
and next of the railway line (1873-9) over the Pontebba Pass. 
Of course, in 1866, the S. slope of the pass passed with the rest 
of Friuli from Austria to Italy. 

The Plocken Pass, of which we have just sketched the history, 
crosses the main ridge of the Carnic Alps, but as it is rather a 
' feeder ' of the Brenner than an independent pass, we have con- 
sidered it in connection with the Brenner. Some way farther to 
the E. lie the two passes which properly lead over the same 
main ridge (the watershed of the Alps and the most southerly 
of the three ridges into which the Eastern Alps here split), from 
the S. into Carinthia — ihePofttebba, Pontafel, or Saifnitz Pass 
(2615 ft.), and (slightly to its E.) the Fredil Pass (3813 ft.). The 
routes over the two passes unite on the N. slope at Tarvis, and 
continue together to Villach in Carinthia. But on the S. side the 
Pontebba Pass is reached from Udine, through territory entirely 
Italian since FriuU was lost in 1866 to Austria, by way of the Fella 
or Ferro valley, commonly called the Canale valley, whereas the 
route on the S. slope of the Predil Pass lies wholly within Austrian 
territory (the county of Gorz) up the Isonzo valley, in which there 
is a village named Canale, a fact that often leads to a confusion 
between the two passes. Again, the Pontebba Pass is just within 
the Carnic Alps, while the Predil Pass is just within the JuHc 
Alps, the former rejoicing in a splendidly picturesque railway (con- 
structed between 1873 and 1879), the latter having a carriage road 
only. These and various other factors (such as the greater height 
of the Predil and its more exposed situation) have brought it 
about that the Pontebba Pass has always been more important 
historically than the Predil. Indeed the Predil comes into pro- 
minence only between 1319, when the citizens of Cividale obtained 
leave from the Bishop of Bamberg (who soon after the erection 
of the see in 1007 had obtained from its founder, the Emperor 
Henry 11., the entire Carinthian slope of our two passes) to build 
a road (actually constructed 1326-7) over the 'new and unusual 
route' of the Predil, and 1348, when a great landslip blocked for 
some years access to both passes on the N. side. When the eifects 


of this misfortune were remedied, came the long strife between the 
Habsburgers (who had obtained Carinthia in 1335) and their 
vassal, the Bishop of Bamberg, against the Patriarch of Aquileia, 
who (till he lost his temporal power to Venice in 1418-1420) natu- 
rally favoured the Predil rather than the Pontebba. But when the 
county of Gorz came in 1500 to the Habsburgers, the fate of the 
Predil was sealed. On the other hand, the Pontebba route is 
described in the Antonine Itinerary (it is possibly even dimly 
alluded to on the Peutinger Table), while a milestone found on 
the summit, and inscriptions elsewhere on the route, show that 
it was a frequented route in Roman days. Possibly crossed in 
884 by Charles the Fat, it was later used by the few Emperors 
who came into these regions — Henry iv. in 1077 and 1097, 
Conrad iii. in 1149, Frederick 11. in 1236, and Charles iv. in 
1354 (perhaps in 1368 also), as well as by a portion of Frederick 
i.'s army in 1158, while in 1797 Napoleon himself went over 
it on his bold campaign in Austria, for Massena had secured the 
pass by force of arms. 

The commercial importance of the Pontebba Pass was also 
great from early times, for in 1184 and in 1234 the Patriarchs of 
Aquileia made treaties with (respectively) Count Henry of Tyrol 
and Count Meinhard of Tyrol and Gorz with regard to the tolls 
levied on this route, while numerous other documents show what 
a considerable amount tolls brought in. The various stations on 
this road are also carefully enumerated in the itineraries of several 
Patriarchs of Aquileia in the early thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries. One particularly interesting point must be noted. The 
Pontebba was the chief trade route from Venice towards the N.E., 
and no doubt it was the Venetian trade which mainly contributed 
to the commercial importance of the pass. The inhabitants of 
the smaller towns N, of Udine very naturally compared the deep- 
cut trench of the Fella leading up to the pass with one of the canals 
of Venice, and this name ' canale,' half understood by the German 
traders, was turned by them into a proper name ' Canal,' and the 
route described as 'via per Canales.' This name first occurs in 
1 158 and 1234, but later is quite the usual one for the pass, which 
was also described as ' per clusam,' i.e. through the chise or narrow 


gorge, which gave its name of Chiusaforte to the village at the 
S. entrance of the gorge of the Fella, where was the principal toll- 
house on the S. side of the pass. 

Coming now to the central of the three ranges which are 
formed by the E. spurs of the Eastern Alps — the Tauern range 
—we find that though several of the passes across it, now dis- 
tinguished by special names as varieties of the Tauern passage 
{e.g. Mallnitzer Tauern, Hohe Tauern, Velber Tauern), were 
probably known in Roman times, yet only the two most easterly 
passes, which are also far lower than the rest, have any real 
general historical importance. Of these this pair, the Radstddter 
Tauern (5702 ft., now traversed by a carriage road), forms part of 
the main route from Klagenfurt to Salzburg, and is therefore 
indicated on the Peutinger Table, while Roman milestones have 
been found near it ; but it is impossible to say with certainty that 
this way was ever taken by any of the Emperors. The Solkscharte 
(5873 ft.), more to the E., is possibly indicated in the Antonine 
Itinerary, but has always been overshadowed by the Radstadter 
Tauern, and to this day is traversed by a mule path only. 

In the most northerly of the three ridges which in the E. 
portion of the Eastern Alps separate Italy from Austria, the Lueg 
Pass (1700 ft.) is a huge, narrow gorge (carriage road through it) 
which forms the natural continuation of the way over the Rad- 
stadter Tauern to Salzburg, and is perhaps alluded to on the 
Peutinger Table. Similarly, the Pyhrn Pass (3100 ft.) is the 
natural continuation of the Solkscharte route to Linz : on its N. 
slope stood formerly a Hospice, which was founded about 1190 
by the Archbishop of Salzburg and the Bishop of Bamberg jointly, 
and gave its name to the village of Spital — beneath the pass a 
railway line was opened in 1906. But these two passes, like the 
Fern Pass (4026 ft.) and the Scharnitz or See/eld Pass (3874 ft.) 
— both leading from the Bavarian Highlands to the Inn valley, 
a little above Innsbruck — are simply ways across (or through, 
by the means of deep gorges) the most northerly low limestone 
ridge of the Alps, which gives access to the real Alps, and 
properly forms merely the foot-hills of the great range. 

To complete our view of the Great Historical Passes of the 
Alps we have now only to glance at the two routes which, like 


that by Turbie along the shore of the Mediterranean in the 
Western Alps, skirt rather than cross the most easterly spurs of 
the Alps — the Birnbaumer Wald and the Semmering Pass, the 
two routes being connected by the Loibl Pass (4495 ft.)> which 
leads from Klagenfurt, situated on a small affluent of the Drave, 
to Krainburg (E. of Laibach) on the Save. 

The Bir7ibaunier Wald is not properly a pass, but simply a 
route across the great wooded Carniolan limestone plateau, which 
rises to a height of 2897 ft., and by which a traveller can go from 
Laibach in Carniola past Wippach to Gorz on the Isonzo, N.W. 
of Trieste and N.E. of Aquileia: there is now a railway from 
Laibach past Ober Laibach (the Roman Nauportus) to Loitsch, 
whence a carriage road is carried on to Gorz, where another 
railway line is taken to Trieste. This route is described or 
mentioned in the Antonine and Jerusalem Itineraries, while the 
Peutinger Table names it the ' Alpis Julia,' and Strabo calls it 
'mons Ocra.' Situated at the S.E. angle of the Alpine chain, it 
offers a short and easy way into Italy, which was taken by several 
of the Barbarian tribes which successively invaded that fair land, 
e.g. the Quadi, the Ostrogoths, the Lombards, etc. The Birn- 
baumer Wald is the true ' Alpis Julia,' a name which has been 
also applied to the Mont Genevre (because of Julius Casar), to 
the Julier Pass in the Upper Engadine, and to the Gailberg, N. 
of the Plocken Pass. But it is perhaps going too far to claim (as 
does a recent German writer on the Alpine region) that for the 
Romans the Mont Genevre and the Birnbaumer Wald were by 
far the two most important Alpine passes from a political point of 
view, since both opened up to them a great field for colonisation 
and for conquest, though there is undoubtedly a considerable 
element of truth in the statement. 

Last of all on our hst is the Semmering Pass (3215 ft.), which 
forms the direct route from Vienna to Graz, the capital of 
Styria (and on by Marburg and Laibach to Trieste), and, in 
a way, balances the Birnbaumer Wald, for it is at the N.E. 
angle of the Alps as the latter is at their S.E. angle. A remark- 
able railway (superseding the carriage road, ended in 1728) was 
constructed over the Semmering between 1S48 and 1854, the 
first line over the Alps, which are pierced by a tunnel 282 ft. 


below the actual summit of the pass. Some 600 ft. below the 
pass, on the S.W. or Styrian slope, at the hamlet now called 
Spital, Ottakar v., Marquess of Styria, founded, about 11 60, a 
Hospice which rendered great services till 1331. No doubt 
this easy and not very elevated route must have been known in 
earlier days, for the valleys, first of the Mur, then of the Miirz, 
lead up to it from Styria, and make it the natural road from that 
province to Austria. For that very reason, probably, it is not so 
often mentioned in historical documents as we might expect. But 
it seems possible that in 1097 the Emperor Henry iv. crossed the 
Semmering on his return by the Pontebba Pass to Germany, 
and pretty certain that in 1368 Charles iv. took this route on his 
way from Vienna to Italy also by the Pontebba Pass. 

The above sketch of the fates of the Great Historical Passes 
of the Alps shows that the celebrated passes of antiquity and 
of the Middle Ages are by no means always those which are 
most frequented at the present day. In the Western Alps the 
Mont Genevre gave way in the early Middle Ages to the 
Mont Cenis, which in turn has been entirely superseded by 
the railway called after it, though built a good bit to its W. 
The Great St. Bernard, however, has never lost its supremacy, 
despite the fact that it has only just obtained a carriage road 
over it, while the mediaeval Simplon will gain fresh vigour (having 
previously put the Antrona Pass out of the field) by reason of the 
new railway recently pierced beneath it. In the Central Alps 
the rise of the St. Gotthard, though it began late, has been 
steady and uninterrupted, and that pass has now quite extin- 
guished those in Roetia (the Lukmanier, the Septimer, the 
Umbrail, etc.), which had a great reputation in their day. In 
the Eastern Alps the Brenner occupies, in this respect, a position 
similar to that of the Great St. Bernard, its natural advantages 
being even greater. But most of its 'feeders' have now but 
slight local importance, while the railways over the Semmering 
and the Pontebba serve only the outskirts of the Alps, and so 
do not rival or compete with the Brenner. 



END OF 1865 

A MOUNTAIN Peak is made by Nature, but a mountain 
Pass has been created by Man. In other words, 
Peaks are natural phenomena, while passes are not ' Passes ' 
till crossed by man, however clearly the depressions may 
have been indicated by Nature. Now men do not ascend high 
peaks without some special inducement, though they do cross 
glacier passes of the easier kind for purely practical reasons ; 
and this chapter is concerned only with high peaks and glacier 
passes. But the history of the exploration of the lofty peaks 
in the Alps is far easier to write than that of the glacier passes 
in the main chain. Yet there can be no doubt that Passes 
were traversed before Peaks were cHmbed. While natives went 
over passes for practical reasons, it happened but rarely be- 
fore the appearance of travellers that they tried to ascend the 
peaks of their valley. Hence, while in order of time we must 
commence any history of the exploration of the High Alps 
with some notice of the glacier passes therein, it is far harder 
to get information as to these than as to peaks. The mention 
of a glacier pass on a map, or the indication thereon of a track 
across over it, implies that some one has really gone over it. 
On the other hand, the naming of a peak in a narrative or on 
a map does not in any way signify that it had then been 
climbed, for names were attributed to peaks when looked at 
from below, though passes were not named till actually traversed, 
and even then not at once, for the early writers simply say that 



'the mountains can be overcome between such and such places,' 
but do not, till quite a late date, give to the passage any 
special name. 

Now it is estimated that before 1600, about twenty glacier 
passes were known in the Alps, that about twenty more were 
added to this list before 1 700, and about twenty-five more before 
1800 — in all say sixty-five, and this number reckons as glacier 
passes such cols as the Monte Moro, the Muretto, and the Gries 
Pass. We must patiently gather together scattered allusions to 
passes, for the maps, even up to 1800, name but a small number 
of the glacier passes that had certainly been crossed before that 
date — for example, Weiss' Atlas of Switzerland ( 1 786-1802) names 
but four in the whole of Switzerland, while Peter Anich's Atlas of 
the Tyrol (1774) indicates eight within the limits of that pro- 
vince only, and not in the Eastern Alps as a whole. Yet in 
the French and Italian Alps a considerable number of real 
glacier passes are expressly mentioned before 1800. Thus in 
1673, i" ^ document enumerating the limits of the commune 
(the most extensive in France next after that of Aries) of 
St. Christophe, in the Dauphine Alps, no fewer than five 
glacier passes are named: Beaurain's map (1741) of the diocese 
of Grenoble marks four of these, and adds three new ones, while 
Bourcet's map (1749-54) gives five glacier passes, one of which 
is first indicated on Paulmy's map of 1752. Yet even to this 
day the glacier passes of this region are but little frequented by 
travellers, and none are known to have actually been crossed 
by any traveller before 1834. Hence it is a mere accident 
which has preserved to us so many details as to the passes of 
a remote district, an accident which shows that in other regions 
many glacier passes may well have been known to the natives, 
though not mentioned in any documents as yet unearthed. 
Thus in 1206 the Bishop of Aosta (who was also lord of Cogne) 
granted to certain men of Cogne some pastures on the further 
side of the Col de Teleccio, which hence must have been crossed 
before these pastures could be utilised. About 1250 the Count 
of Biandrate, holding the valleys on either side of the Monte 
Moro Pass, arranged that his serfs at Macugnaga should (as 


they actually did) colonise the valley of Saas, but the pass 
itself is not alluded to. Again, in 1252, the Col de Fenetre 
de Bagnes (leading from Aosta to the Val de Bagnes) must 
have been in use, for in that year Amadeus iv., Count of Savoy, 
granted to the lord of Quart in the Aosta valley the pastures 
in the upper portion of the Val de Bagnes. Once more, the 
Futschdl Pass (from the Lower Engadine to the Paznaun valley 
— both regions then Tyrolese, as the latter is to this day) was 
certainly known in 1383, for in that year Galtiir, in the Paznaun 
valley, was permitted, owing to the difficulty of communication 
in winter, to have a priest for itself, to serve the church built 
in 1359, although hitherto it had been included in the parish of 
Ardez, in the Lower Engadine. On the other hand, some glacier 
passes are very clearly indicated by a name of some sort, even at 
a very early date. Thus in 1352 and 1380 we hear of the 'cross 
on the snowy mountains' between the Lotschen and Gastern 
valleys ; while the pass (now best known as the Lotschen Pass) 
is called ' Gandegg ' in 1366, as in 1384 and in 1419, when battles 
took place there between the Vallaisans and the Bernese. 

The fact that for centuries Savoy and Piedmont were under 
the same rule is probably the reason why, in the last sixty years 
of the seventeenth century, no fewer than six glacier passes 
are mentioned, on maps or in documents, over the great chain 
that forms the watershed between the Mont Cenis and the 
Little St. Bernard. Five of these passes are, indeed, included 
in a very remarkable report (first published in full by the 
present writer in 1904 in his work Josias Siniler et les Origifies 
de FAlpinisme jusquen 1600, pp. 269*-32 7*) as to the valley 
of Aosta. It was drawn up by one P. A. Arnod, a ducal official, 
for the use of his master, the Duke of Savoy, with special 
reference to the necessity of erecting fortifications to prevent 
the exiled Waldensians from quitting Switzerland in order to 
regain their native valleys, near Pinerolo. In this report, dated 
1 69 1-4, no fewer than seventeen glacier passes are mentioned, 
or described, around this single valley of Aosta. Two of these 
deserve special notice. One is the Col du Geant, leading from 
Courmayeur to Chamonix. This pass is indicated, under the 


name of 'Col Major,' on several maps, from 1648 onwards, and 
so was really known at that time. Hence, in 1689, Arnod 
himself tried to ' reopen ' this legendary pass. He took three 
bold hunters with him, providing the party with crampons for 
the feet, and iron hooks for their hands, as well as axes, but 
finally had to give up the descent towards Chamonix, owing to 
the huge crevasses, probably after having reached what are now 
known as 'the seracs du Geant.' If we bear in mind that we 
do not hear of any authentic passage of this col till 1786, when 
an Englishman, named Hill, achieved the feat, we shall better 
realise the exceeding boldness of Arnod's attempt. 

Another pass which he describes in considerable detail 

(without, however, distinctly stating that he had himself crossed 

it) is the Sf. Th'eodule. He speaks of an ancient and roughly 

hewn statue (wooden) of St. Theodule, which the Vallaisans had 

long before set up just on their side of the pass, and — most 

curiously — attributes to the pass the name of ' Monservin,' an 

appellation which it bears to this day, and which it gave to 

the great peak of the Matterhorn (called thus in the Aosta 

valley) that towers over it. The St. Theodule is, in truth 

(together with the Hochjoch, in the Oetzthal division of the 

Tyrolese Alps, though this pass is first distinctly mentioned in 

1 601), the typical glacier pass of the Alps. Putting aside some 

possible earlier allusions, we find that it is mentioned by the 

four great Swiss topographers of the sixteenth century, Aegidius 

Tschudi (1538 and 1572), Johannes Stumpf (1548), Sebastian 

Miinster (1550), and Josias Simler (1574); the last named 

translating the name 'the Glacier' given by the other writers 

(who also call it ' Mons Sylvius ') by ' Rosa,' an adaptation of a 

word ('roesa') in the Aostan patois, signifying 'a glacier,' and 

now confined to the loftiest point of that great Sea of Ice, 

namely Monte Rosa itself. Yet, though this real glacier pass 

was so well known at so early a date, we know for certain of 

two parties only which had crossed it before H. B. de Saussure 

revealed it to the world in 1789 and in 1792. About 1528 

Tschudi himself went over it, as did, at some date between 

1758 and 1767, and possibly on two occasions, one or both the 


Thomases, of Bex, who collected plants for the celebrated 
botanist, Albert von Haller. 

These details as to certain glacier passes will suffice to show 
that in all probability it would be easy to increase our knowledge 
of the subject by further researches and lucky discoveries, and 
that a far greater number of these passes (of course of no great 
difficulty, according to modern standards) were really known 
to the natives than is commonly believed. 

Let us now turn our attention from glacier passes to high 
peaks. Here, too, we find several mentioned by name at a 
very early date, though, as pointed out above, a mention in 
the case of a peak in no way implies that it was climbed at or 
before that date. Monte Viso is the first mountain that attracted 
the attention of dwellers below, for it is very conspicuous from 
the plain of Piedmont. It is alluded to, under the name of 
'Vesulus,' by Virgil, Pomponius Mela, Pliny the Elder, and 
Solinus, among the writers of classical antiquity, as well as by 
Martianus Capella in the fifth century, and by Chaucer in the 
fourteenth century. The present writer is of opinion that the 
' white rock ' (rupes alba) spoken of in the charter of foundation, 
about 1 09 1, of the Benedictine priory at Chamonix refers to 
Mont Blanc, though some think that it indicates a ' Roche 
Blanche,' near Servoz. But Mont Blanc is certainly meant 
on maps and in narratives of the seventeenth century from 1606 
onwards by the names of ' Montagne Maudite ' (a term sometimes 
apparently applied to the Buet, but probably intended to refer to 
Mont Blanc), and in 1581 as from 1648 onwards by that of ' Les 
Glacieres.' As yet, the now so familiar name of ' Mont Blanc ' 
(probably the local term) has not been found earlier than 1742 
(text of Pierre Martel's Letter) and 1744 (map annexed to the 
English translation of that Letter). The name * Mont Malay ' 
(another form of ' Montagne Maudite ') occurs first on Du Val's 
map of 1644, this appellation giving way, from 1773-6 onwards, 
to that by which the remarkable needle is now known of 
'Aiguille du Geant.' In the Bernese Oberland the Eiger is 
first mentioned in a document of 1252 ; the Balmhorn in another, 


dated 1366"; and the Bietschhorn, in 1548, by Stumpf. In 1577-8 
Thomas Schopf in his text and on his map adds many more 
peaks to the Hst, among which are the Finsteraarhorn (named 
' Schreckshorn '), the Schreckhorn (dubbed ' Mettelberg'), the 
Jungfrau, the Wetterhorn, the Wildstrubel (termed ' Ratlisberg '), 
the Wildhorn (' auf der Gelten mons '), the Oldenhorn, the Gross 
Lohner, the Dent de Jaman, etc., all these now making their 
first appearance (so far as is known) in a written document 
or on a map. More to the east the Piz Linard^, in the Lower 
Engadine, is mentioned about 1573 by the local historian Ulrich 
Campell under the name of ' Pitz Chiinard,' from a legend that 
a certain hunter, named Conrad, had climbed it and planted a 
golden cross on the summit. In the Eastern Alps, the Gross 
Glockner appears in 1562, in 1583, and in 1611, under dialectal 
forms, but the Ortler not, apparently, till Anich's Atlas Tyrolensis 
of 1774, which names also the Presanella (' Presserela Mons '), as 
well as most of the great Dolomite peaks, such as the Marmolata, 
the Cimone della Pala, the Cima di Vezzana, the Sass Maor, 
the Pelmo, the Monte Cristallo, the Tofana, the Sorapiss, the 
Piz Popena, and the Drei Zinnen, the actual names being given 
with, in a few cases, only slight orthographical variations. But 
Anich, though mentioning the Wildspitze in the Oetzthal group 
and the Dreiherrenspitze in that of the Gross Venediger district, 
never speaks of the latter summit, of which, like the Adamello, 
we hear for the first time in 1797. If we turn to the opposite 
extremity of the Alps we find that the term ' Mont Produissant ' 
(there are several spellings) was applied on many seventeenth 
and eighteenth century maps to the great mountain mass, 
which includes the Ecrins, the Ailefroide, and the Pelvoux, 
though it was sometimes Umited to the Ecrins alone. Bourcet's 
map (1749-1754) calls the Ecrins the ' Montagne d'Oursine,' 
and gives the name of ' Grand Pelvoux ' to the Ailefroide, 
leaving the real Pelvoux without any name at all. On the 
other hand, he first mentions the Meije, but under the name 
of the ' Aiguille du Midi,' for the term Meije is not found till 
1834, and then as a nickname. It is a curious fact that the 
Ecrins was not clearly distinguished from the Pelvoux till 1834, 


nor the latter from the Ailefroide till 1858. Yet it is in 
this district where three of the four highest peaks are so 
confounded with each other, that we find (as noted above) 
express mention of no fewer than five glacier passes as early 
as 1673. These singular variations show how much hangs on 
accident, for the natives would naturally distinguish the three 
peaks (if they paid any attention to them), though outsiders 
visiting or mapping the district might confound them, and it is 
from the evidence supplied by outsiders that much of our 
knowledge as to the early names given attributed to peaks and 
passes is ultimately derived. 

The somewhat lengthy list of peaks that we have just 
given may suffice to show that from the sixteenth century on- 
wards a certain number of lofty summits were becoming 
individualised, and picked out, by means of special names, 
from their neighbours, though after a somewhat erratic and 
inconsequent fashion. But none of them, save the Piz 
Linard in the case of the legendary Conrad, had as yet found 
their conqueror. 

L — Ascents made before 1760 

We must now go on to enumerate a few high peaks, or 
snowy peaks (this excludes the Mont Ventoux, the Niesen, 
the Stockhorn, and the like), which were scaled in early days, 
though our list up to 1760 contains only about half-a-dozen 
entries, as will be seen on consulting the Chronological List 
printed below as Appendix 11. 

In the cathedral church of Susa there is still preserved a 
remarkable bronze triptych, which depicts the Madonna and 
Child, between St. George, mounted, and St. James, who is 
presenting a kneeling warrior. This knight is supposed to 
be one Bonifacio Rotario (of Asti), as to whom all we know 
certainly is comprised in the inscription engraved at the foot 
of the triptych, to the effect that a man of that name ' brought 
me hither in honour of our Blessed Lord and our Lady on 
September i, 1358.' The word 'hither' refers to the peak 


of the Rochemelon (11,605 ft.), that rises in the Graian Alps 
on the east of the Mont Cenis Pass. It is still crowned by 
a chapel, where mass is said annually on August 5 (the festival 
of Notre Dame des Neiges), on which occasion the triptych is 
solemnly carried up in procession. A number of more or less 
fantastic legends are told as to the reasons which induced 
Rotario to perform this strange act. But we read that in the 
eleventh century already the monks of the great Benedictine 
monastery of Novalesa, at the S.W. foot of the peak, had been 
beaten back on an attempt to scale it in order to secure the 
treasures left there by one King Romulus, we may safely con- 
clude that Rotario's act was due to a vow of some kind that 
he had made. In the eleventh century the peak is called 
'mons Romuleus,' but the present name first occurs in 1494. 
As the mountain is snowless on the Susa side it is remarkably 
accessible for its height, though on the Savoyard slope its flank 
is covered by a glacier of some extent, which, however, does not 
deter pilgrims from annually mounting to the chapel from that 
side also. Some way to the west of the Rochemelon, and on 
the other side of the so-called Mont Cenis Railway Tunnel, 
rises another peak, the Mont Thabor (10,440 ft.), crowned by a 
chapel in which mass is said annually towards the end of August. 
We know that this chapel was rebuilt in 1694, but it is not known 
at what date this pilgrimage, a rival to that to the Rochemelon, 
took its origin. The access to this peak is even easier than that 
to the Rochemelon. 

If the Rochemelon was the first high peak in the Alps to be 
conquered, its Alpine history is scarcely as interesting as that 
of a much lower summit, the Mont Aiguille (6880 ft.) that 
rises precipitously some thirty-six miles to the S. of Grenoble. 
It resembles Roraima, in British Guiana, in that it consists of 
a nearly level grassy plain, supported on very steep rock 
bastions, that even now can only be scaled (without ropes) 
by a good cragsman. It was locally known as one of the 
' Seven Miracles of the Dauphiny,' and is first mentioned in 
121 1 by the English chronicler, Gervase of Tilbury. It was 
supposed to be quite impregnable, and indeed bore the name 


of the * Mons Inascensibilis.' Luckily time has preserved to 
us the extraordinary letter, written on June 28, 1492, on the 
summit, by the first conqueror of this wonderful freak of 
nature, Antoine de Ville, lord of DomjuUen and of Beaupre 
(both places are in Lorraine), as well as other contemporary 
accounts of this marvellous feat of climbing. He tells us that 
his master, Charles viii., king of France, then on his way to 
Italy, charged him to make an attempt to scale this peak. 
This attempt succeeded, though the party (which numbered 
eight or ten men, besides the writer) had to use ladders and 
other ' sobtilz engins ' — it would be interesting to know what 
these were. He spent three days on the summit, which he 
caused to be baptized in the Threefold Name, and had mass 
said in the hut that he built on the top. The summit consists 
of a fine grassy meadow, whereon were many chamois, old and 
young, another account adding that a number of birds, such as 
crows and sparrows, were also discovered there. Three great 
crosses were set up on the edge of the meadow, to prove to the 
spectators below that the summit had really been attained. This 
expedition, considering its date (a little before Columbus dis- 
covered America — or, strictly speaking, the Bahama Islands — on 
October 12, 1492), is one of the most extraordinary incidents 
in the annals of mountaineering. This singularity induced the 
present writer to have all the five original documents photo- 
graphed for reproduction (four are given only with the editiori 
de luxe) of his work Josias Simler (Grenoble, 1904), the text 
being also transcribed for the benefit of the many who cannot 
easily decipher fifteenth-century writing. 

After this amazing expedition of 1492, which has a distinct 
flavour of the Middle Ages, we must wait long till we come to 
any authentic account of the conquest of another peak, and 
even then we cannot expect to meet with similar sensations and 
thrills. The Swiss traveller, J. J. Scheuchzer (of whom more 
anon), tells us that in 1707 his friend, Rudolf von Rosenroll (a 
member of an ancient Thusis family), made the ascent of the Piz 
Beverin (9843 ft.), a prominent summit in the range W. of Thusis 
and the Via Mala. The last hour of the ascent alone offered 


any serious difficulties, owing to the strong wind that blew, the 
absence of bushes wherewith to pull oneself up, as well as the 
soft and yielding nature of the soil of which the mountain is 
composed. The climber, who appears to have been alone, 
carried to the top a barometer, with which he made observa- 
tions, and had the good fortune to enjoy an unclouded and 
very extensive view. There is nothing to show that it was 
a ' first ascent,' but it is certainly a ' first recorded ascent.' On 
the other hand, the ascent at some uncertain date between 17 16 
and 1742 of the Scesaplana (9741 ft.), at the extreme western 
extremity of the Rhatikon chain, and N.E. of Ragatz, does not 
pretend to any originality. But the narrative is the earliest 
that has been preserved to us of a visit to this glorious view- 
point, which rejoices in a real, though harmless, glacier. The 
excursionist was Nicholas Sererhard (1689-1756), who in 1742 
wrote his ' Description of the Grisons.' He was a native 
of Kiiblis, and from 1716 to 1756 pastor of Seewis, two 
villages in the Prattigau or Landquart valley, that extends just 
to the south of the peak, and was accompanied by two other 
men. He speaks with respect of the ' horrible great glacier ' 
that the party had to traverse, and marvelled much at the 
nut-shells, hairs of men and horses, and shavings that lay 
scattered over its surface, having been blown up by the 
wind. He gives a very detailed description of the panorama 
which lay unrolled before his eyes, the Todi attracting his 
attention particularly. The descent was affected by way of 
the Liinersee. 

Last on our list before 1760 comes the Titlis (10,627 ft.), 
the well-known mountain that overhangs the Engelherg valley. 
The first ascent was effected in July, 1 744, by four peasants of 
Engelberg. Two of these were still alive in 1767, when the 
Subprior obtained from them exact information as to their 
climb twenty-three years before. They seem to have taken 
the now usual route by way of the Triibsee and the glacier 
above it. They employed crampons on their feet, had sticks 
wherewith to sound for concealed crevasses, and were all four 
bound together by a rope. They planted a great pole in a 


hole they dug out of the ice on the summit, and tied to it 
two large bits of black cloth, which were well seen from the 
village and monastery for a long time, and served as proofs 
of the success of their adventurous undertaking. 

It does not enter into the scope of this chapter to trace out 
the gradual growth of the love of mountain beauty. We limit 
ourselves here to narrating how, for whatever reasons, the 
high peaks and glacier passes of the Alps were gradually 
overcome in the course of long years. But in any sketch 
of this subject it would not be right to omit the name of J. J. 
Scheuchzer (1672-1733), of Ziirich, a learned man of science, 
and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He was the official town 
physician at Ziirich, and also professor at the Caroline School 
in that town. Between 1702 and 17 10 (except in the year 
1708) he made a series of journeys among the mountains of 
his native land. The first three years of these were described 
in a volume published in London in 1708 with the 'imprimatur' 
of Sir Isaac Newton, then President of the Royal Society. This 
narrative, added to other descriptions of his later journeys, was 
issued in 4 vols, at Leyden in 1723. In 17 16 Scheuchzer had 
published his Helvetiae Stoicheiographia, Orographia, et Oreo- 
graphia, in which he sums up all that was then known as to 
the peaks and passes of Switzerland, thus bringing up to date 
Josias Simler's De Alpibus Commeniarius (1574). Now 
Scheuchzer has no claim to be a mountain climber. His 
one glacier pass is the Segnes (a very mild pass of that kind), 
while he crossed the Gemmi twice, before the path was improved 
in 1 740-1, and also the Joch Pass. His one peak was an out- 
lier of the Pilatus range. But his narratives greatly stimulated 
the rising taste for travelling among the mountains, and in this 
way Scheuchzer must be regarded as one of the earliest pioneers 
of mountain climbing. He noted all mountain phenomena that 
he remarked during his travels, giving a summary of what then 
was known about glaciers (which he terms ' montes glaciales ') 
when describing the Rhone glacier. He wrote in Latin, in 
order (like Simler) to make known his native land to the outer 
world, especially to foreign scientific men, for even at that date 


Latin was still the language of learned men. We should not 
forget, too, his map of Switzerland (four sheets, 17 12), which 
remained the best till the publication of Weiss's Atlas (1786- 

II. — Ascents made between 1760 and c. 1800 

The true date of the origin of serious mountain climbing is 
1760, just about one hundred years before the foundation 
(winter of 1857-8) of the English Alpine Club, the first institu- 
tion of its kind. In that year G. S. Gruner published his 
Die Eisgebirge des Schweizerlandes (3 vols.) (a detailed descrip- 
tion of Swiss and other glaciers as far as they were then known, 
and so a completion of Scheuchzer's 17 16 book, as regards this 
particular point) ; and H. B. de Saussure (1740-1799) — a wealthy 
scientific man of Geneva — on occasion of his first visit to 
Chamonix, offered a prize to the man who should first succeed 
in discovering a practicable route up Mont Blanc : the highest 
summit of the Alps was at once selected as the object of 
attacks by the infant school of mountaineers. This offer did 
not meet with an enthusiastic reception, for the first serious 
effort to scale Mont Blanc dates only from 1775, and the next 
from 1783. But before that time the mere idea of climbing 
mountains had stirred up several men to try other peaks. In 
the Eastern Alps the Ankogel (10,673 '^'^•)^ one of the most 
easterly of snowy Alpine peaks, was reached about 1762, and 
the Terglou (9400 ft.), the culminating point of the South- 
Eastern Alps, in 1778. As early as 1770 the brothers Deluc, 
also scientific men of Geneva, had gained the summit of the 
Buet (10,201 ft.), in order to make scientific observations. In 
1775 Marc Theodore Bourrit (1739-1819), another Genevese, 
discovered a ' new route ' (the first on record) up that peak, 
which Saussure visited in 1776, while in 1800 it was the scene 
of the first known accident to a traveller on a glacier, a young 
Dane, F. A. Eschen, having then perished in a crevasse. In 1779 
L. J. Murith (1742-1816), one of the canons of the Great St. 
Bernard, succeeded in scaling the Mont Vdlan (12,353 ft.), that 


rises to the N.E. of the convent. In 1767 and 1778 he guided 
his friend, Saussure, to the Valsorey glacier, and Bourrit in 1778 
to the Otemma glacier, besides exploring in 1785 (apparently not 
for the first time) the granite range on the left bank of the Orny 
glacier in the interests of Saussure. In 1784 the cure of Val d' 
Illiez, M. J. M. Clement, vanquished the highest point of the great 
local peak, the Dent du Midi (10,696 ft.). 

Matters were now ready for the final assault on Mont Blanc 
(15,782 ft.). In 1784 two of Bourrit's guides, Francois Cuidet 
and J. M. Couttet, starting from St. Gervais, succeeded in attain- 
ing the Aiguille (12,609 ft.) and the Dome du Gouter (14,118 ft.), 
and even a point near the first of the Bosses du Dromadaire. 
On July I, 1786, several guides reached a spot just below the 
first Bosse, mounting from Chamonix. Finally, on August 8, 
1786, the coveted goal was attained at 6.30 p.m. by a bold young 
Chamonix guide, Jacques Balmat (i 762-1834), accompanied by 
Michel Paccard, the village doctor. Since the conquest of the 
Mont Aiguille, nearly three hundred years previously, no more 
plucky feat of climbing had been performed, for in 1786 the 
glaciers were still regarded with awe, and it required enormous 
courage to venture one's life in these trackless deserts of ice, 
seamed everywhere with yawning chasms, ready to engulf the 
unwary visitor. In 1787 Saussure in his turn attained the 
summit, his being the third ascent, while six days later Colonel 
Beaufoy, an Englishman, repeated the feat. On the other 
hand, Bourrit was never able to make this ascent, but in 1787 
he followed the steps of Mr. Hill (1786) over the Col du Geant, 
Saussure crossing this pass in 1788 only, but then remaining 
on its crest for seventeen days, employed in making scientific 
observations. In 1822 it was traversed by Mrs. and Miss 
Campbell, the first women to attain these snowy heights, 
though they did not carry out their intention of ascending 
Mont Blanc : that summit had been gained in 1808 by a 
Chamonix woman, Marie Paradis, while in 1838 Mile. Henriette 
d'Angeville repeated the exploit. 

Saussure's activity was not confined to the Mont Blanc 
region. In 1789 he ascended the Pizzo Bianco, near Mac- 


ugnaga, and the Rothhorn, near Gressoney, and crossed the 
St. Theodule to Zermatt, which he was the first genuine 
traveller to visit. In 1792 he mounted from the Italian side 
to the St. Theodule, where he remained for several days, 
making observations, climbing in the intervals the Little 
Matterhorn and the Theodulhorn : the loftier Breithorn was 
not ascended till Monsieur H. Maynard, in 1813, reached its 
summit, under the impression that he had conquered Monte 
Rosa. Saussure's climbing performances thus range over a very 
few years (17 76-1 792), but they caused a great sensation, for he 
enjoyed wide scientific fame, and as far back as 17 68 had been 
elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Between 1779 and 1796 
he published his great work, the Voyages dans les Alpes, in 
four quarto volumes, illustrated by many maps (those of the 
Mont Blanc group given in vols. i. and ii., 1779 and 1786, are 
the first detailed map of a snowy group). This work may still 
be turned over with profit and interest, though, of course, 
its natural science is now of purely historical importance. 
Bourrit's numerous books, on the other hand, though filled 
.with an almost boyish and infectious enthusiasm, are less 
important for the history of climbing, though still worth 
consulting by any one desirous of studying the early visits 
of travellers to various Alpine haunts. 

The scene next shifts far away towards the east to the upper 
valleys of the Rhine in the Grisons. We have now to 
study the doings of a simple Benedictine monk. Father 
Placidiis a Spescha (1752-1833), who in his humble way tried 
to follow in the steps of his master, Saussure, though without 
either his master's scientific knowledge or his material resources. 
Born at Truns, between Ilanz and Disentis, in the valley of 
the Vorder Rhine, he became in 1774 a monk at Disentis, 
an ancient house (said to have been founded in 614 by a 
disciple of St. Columban). After completing his education at 
Einsiedeln, he returned in 1782 to Disentis. The rest of his 
life was spent in serving various cures in his native valleys, 
though he suffered much at the hands of his brother monks, 
who could not understand his scientific tastes. In 1799 he 


was accused of being a spy (his climbs and maps were held 
suspicious) in favour of the French, and, when the French 
did come, he had to give up to them all his scientific collections. 
In addition he had the dreadful experience of learning, soon 
after his departure, that his monastery, with all its most precious 
archives, including his own original MSS., had been burnt by 
order of the French general so as to punish the peasants who 
dared to resist his advance. Despite all these disadvantages, 
Spescha achieved an extraordinary amount of success in his 
mountain explorations around his native valley : a fact the pre- 
sent writer, who has written special Climbers' Guides to the 
region, realises most keenly. It is true that Spescha failed to 
attain the very highest summit, the Todi, although in 1788 he 
ascended the Stockgron (11,214 ft-)) close to it, and only 673 ft. 
lower, while in 1824, sitting on the depression (close to the 
Stockgron and 863 ft. lower than the Todi), now called the Porta 
da Spescha, he had the melancholy satisfaction of seeing the 
two local chamois hunters that he had sent forward actually 
attain the loftiest point. Perhaps he comforted himself with 
the old law maxim, qui facit per alium facit per se, for the 
hunters, left to themselves, would scarcely have dreamt of 
facing the terrible glaciers, that most probably had also deterred 
Spescha from pushing on towards the goal. Here are the 
names of some of his principal climbs — in 17 89, the Rheinwald- 
horn (11,149 ft.), the highest summit around the sources of 
the Hinter Rhine, and, in 1806, the Giiferhorn (11,132 ft.), the 
second summit of that region; in 1792, the Oberalpstock 
(10,926 ft.), the highest point anywhere near Disentis ; in 1793, 
the Piz Urlaun (11,060 ft.), near the Todi; in 1801, Piz Aul 
(10,250 ft.) and PizScharboden (10,250ft.); and in 1802, PizTerri 
(10,338 ft.), these three mountains being the culminating 
points in the ranges that rise to the north of the Rheinwaldhorn 
group. Oddly enough, he does not seem to have visited any 
of the higher peaks of the Medel group, but only its outliers, 
here again the dread of glaciers probably holding him back. 
It is noteworthy that in the course of all his climbs he rarely 
set foot on a glacier, though in 181 2, on occasion of his 


second ascent of the Oberalpstock, he did cross the easy 
glacier Brunni Pass (8977 ft.). In early Alpine history the 
name of Spescha must always be bracketed with that of 

The scene now shifts once more towards the east to the 
borders of the Tyrol and Carinthia, to the bell-like peak of 
the Gross Glockner (12,461 ft.). This summit rises at the 
head of the Moll valley (Carinthia), wherein stand Dollach, and, 
higher up, the Alpine village of Heiligenblut. Its height as 
compared with those of the Ortler (really 12,802 ft.) and 
Gross Wiesbachhorn (really 11,713 ft.) was a subject of 
frequent discussion, as also its exact topographical position. 
In 1779 already the question of the possibility of reaching 
the top was mooted seriously. But it was not till later that 
the news of Saussure's success on Mont Blanc brought about 
the first attempt to vanquish a lofty snowy Austrian peak. 
The deciding stimulus came from Count Franz von Salm (1749- 
1822), who in 1783 became Prince-bishop of Gurk (he was 
created a cardinal in 181 7), in which diocese the peak rises, 
so that he had often seen it in the course of his pastoral 
visitations. A first attempt in June, 1799, by two peasants of 
Heiligenblut (the brothers Klotz), showed that the climb was 
not impossible, as they reached a very considerable height, 
indeed nearly gaining the summit of the Klein Glockner. The 
bishop therefore ordered the construction of a wooden shelter- 
hut in the Leiter glen, on the S.E. side of the mountain, and 
on August 19, 1799, a number of peasants (it does not seem 
that the bishop himself was of the party) established themselves 
in it. But bad weather drove the party back to Heiligenblut. 
It cleared on the 24th, so that a small party started for the 
hut, and next day, in the finest weather, but after struggling 
with much fresh snow, reached the summit of the Klein 
Glockner, where they planted a cross. Besides the brothers 
Klotz, there were two other carpenters, the bishop's Vicar- 
general von Hohenwarth, and a sixth man, whose anonymous 
diary has preserved to us these details. This success excited 
immense rejoicing, and the bishop caused a medal to be struck 


to commemorate the great event. Yet he does not seem to 
have been completely satisfied, for in 1800 he organised 
another expedition, in which he himself took part. But he 
did not get very high up, while of his party of sixty-two persons 
eight attained the Klein Glockner, five of these only (the 
brothers Klotz, two other carpenters and Herr Horasch, the 
cure of Dollach) venturing to cross over to the Gross Glockner. 
some 112 ft. higher. Thus the loftiest point was won on 
July 28, 1800, a memorable date in the Alpine history of the 
Eastern Alps. The next day the ascent was repeated by the 
four peasants, in order to plant a huge iron cross on the 
culminating point, the party being reinforced by Valentin 
Stanig (1774-1847), who had been delayed at Heiligenblut the 
day before through making scientific observations. In his 
youthful impetuosity Stanig clambered up the tall tree which 
the peasants had planted next to the cross, in order, as he 
himself says, to ' be higher than the Glockner or any one else 
who has cUmbed it.' Stanig became later an ecclesiastic, and 
made a number of climbs, in the interests of botany, such as 
the first ascent of the Watzmann (in 1799 or 1801) and the 
ascent of the Terglou (1808). His notes of his climbs display 
the greatest enthusiasm, and Stanig is deservedly reckoned as 
the earliest amateur mountaineer in the Eastern Alps. 

At the end of this sketch of the Alpine history of the period 
extending from 1760 to c. 1800 let us recall the publication 
of several maps which were more or less based on personal 
observations among the mountains, and aided the succeeding 
generations very much. For the Dauphine Alps we have that of 
Bourcet (1749- 17 54) ; for Savoy and Piedmont, that of Borgonio- 
Stagnoni (a revision, made in 1772, of a map dating from 1680); 
for the Tyrol, Peter Anich's Atlas Tyroloisis (1774) ; and for the 
Swiss Alps, Weiss's Atlas (i 786-1802) — the dates given referring 
in each case to the pubUcation of the map in question. 


III. — Ascents made between c. 1800 and c 1840 

As in the period we have just studied so in this we have to 
deal with three sets of explorations in three distinct Alpine 
regions, but, while the Eastern Alps is included in both, the 
Mont Blanc chain is now replaced by that of Monte Rosa, and 
the Biindner Oberland (the home of Spescha) by the Bernese 

Among the snows of the Bernese Oberland not much had 
been done before the early years of the nineteenth century. 
About 1780 the Gamchiliicke, in 1783 the Petersgrat (possibly 
crossed in 1712 already), and in 1790 the Tschingel Pass — all 
close to each other — had been crossed, while in 1795 the 
Gauli Pass and in 1797 the Oberaarjoch were traversed. But 
the only peaks ascended for certain were two summits that rise 
above the Gauli glacier — in 1788 the Hangendgletscherhorn 
(10,808 ft.) by J. E. Miiller (who between 1792 and 1797 also 
visited the Uri Rothstock, 9620 ft.), one of Weiss's surveyors, 
and a peak more to the east, but not now to be identified with 
certainty, the ' Blaues Gletscherhorn,' which about 1792 was 
visited by Weiss when making his survey. Now the expenses 
of this survey, and of the publication of his Atlas, a marvel for 
its date, so far as regards the High Alps, had been defrayed by 
the head (J. R., 1 739-181 3) of the rich merchant family of 
Meyer, of Aarau, who himself had, in 1787, climbed the Titlis, 
while his son it was who had crossed the Tschingel in 1790. It 
was therefore most fitting that various members of this family 
should be the first to ascend some of the higher peaks of the 
group. We know nothing of the previous practical knowledge 
possessed by any of the Meyers as to the region they visited, 
but the results attained are simply marvellous. In 181 1 the 
two sons of the head of the family, named J. R. (1768-1825) 
and Hieronymus, with several servants from Aarau and a 
porter picked up at Guttannen, having reached the Vallais by 
way of the Grimsel, crossed the Beich Pass, a glacier pass, to 
the head of the Lotschen valley. Here they added two local 


chamois hunters to their party and traversed the Ldtschenliicke 
to the S.E. foot of the Jungfrau, which they chmbed on August 
3, 181 1, the Guttannen porter having been sent back alone 
over the Lotschenliicke. The party seems to have attained 
the Roththalsattel by a route not now adopted, but there can 
be no reasonable doubt that the highest summit of the peak 
was gained, this being the first ascent. They then recrossed 
the two passes named (both new) to their point of departure 
in the Vallais, and went home again over the Grimsel. The 
journey was a most extraordinary one for the time, and we 
cannot be surprised that some envious persons threw doubts 
on its complete success. To settle these another expedition 
was undertaken in 1812. In this the two sons, Rudolf (1791- 
1833) and Gottlieb (1793-1829), of J. R. Meyer, jr., played 
the chief parts. After an unsuccessful attempt, defeated by 
bad weather, in the course of which the Oberaarjoch was 
crossed twice (this route being much more direct than the 
long detour through the Lotschenthal), Rudolf, with the two 
Vallais hunters (Alois Volker and Joseph Bortis), the Gut- 
tannen porter (really named Arnold Abbiihl), and a Hasle 
man, bivouacked on the depression, now known as the 
Gemsliicke, on the S.E. ridge of the Finsteraarhorn. Next 
day (August 16) the whole party attempted the ascent from 
the Studer neve on the E. by way of the S.E. arete, but 
Meyer, exhausted, remained behind with the Hasle man, the 
three other guides alone having the honour of making the 
first ascent of the Finsteraarhorn, the monarch of the Bernese 
Oberland. The following day the party crossed the Grilnhorn- 
likke (yet another new pass) to the Great Aletsch glacier, but 
bad weather then put an end to further projects. At a bivouac, 
probably just opposite the present Concordia Inn, the rest of 
the party, having come over the Oberaarjoch and the Griin- 
hornliicke, joined the Finsteraarhorn party. Gottlieb, Rudolfs 
younger brother, had more patience than the rest and remained 
longer at the huts near the Marjelen lake, where the adventurers 
had taken refuge. His reward was the honour of making the 
second ascent (September 3) of the Jungfrau, the Roththal- 


sattel being reached from the east as is now usual, and his 
companions being the two Vallais hunters. His brother, 
Rudolf, profiting by the return of the fine weather, succeeded 
on the same day in making the first authentic and certain 
passage of the Strahlegg Pass from the Unteraar glacier (above 
the Grimsel) to Grindelwald, being accompanied by Abbiihl 
and the Hasle man (Kaspar Huber). Meyer tells us that 
the shepherds on the Zasenberg pastures, above the Lower 
Grindelwald glacier, were extremely surprised at the arrival of 
the adventurers. The next day Rudolfs uncle, Hieronymus, 
and his party followed the tracks of their friends to the summit 
of the pass, but did not venture to descend towards Grindel- 
wald owing to thick mists. 

Such is the barest outline of two most astonishing journeys 
amid the highest snows of the Bernese Oberland. The present 
writer, who has carefully studied the original narratives, and is 
well acquainted with the ground covered, has no doubts what- 
ever as to the complete success that attended these two journeys, 
on which certain suspicions have been cast. The Meyers appear 
on the scene no more, but what they did in 1811-12 is amply 
sufficient to secure them a front rank among the early explorers 
of the Alps. 

The same two peaks, however, attracted other ambitious men. 
A Soleure geologist, F. J. Hugi (i 796-1855), having been led by 
his scientific wanderings into the Roththal, above Lauterbrunnen, 
in the early days of August, 1828, conceived the idea of climbing 
the Jungfrau from that side, and actually made an attempt. A 
fortnight later this route was again tried (August 21) by two 
Englishmen, Mr. Yeats Brown and Mr. Frederick Slade, with 
nine local guides. Their plucky attack failed for various reasons, 
but the Englishmen declare, in their account, that they consider 
the ascent to be feasible, though very difficult. Hugi himself, 
on August 19, 1828, tried the Finsteraarhorn from the W. by 
the route now generally taken, but bad weather prevented the 
party from pushing beyond the Hugisattel, on the N.W. ridge, 
and about 600 ft. below the summit. In the same month of 
August, 1828, yet a third party endeavoured to explore the high 


snowy regions of the Bernese Oberland. Caspar Rohrdorf, 
( 1 773-1843), an ofificial at Berne, with a number of men from 
Grindehvald, really did cross the depressions now known as the 
Unter and the Ober Monchjock, and so gained the E. foot of 
the Jungfrau. But while he sent most of his men forward to 
explore the way, he contented himself with excursionising to the 
Jungfraujoch (not visited before) and climbing the great snowy 
hump on it, called by him Sattelknopf (T^Qxax^^X of a saddle), 
that is so conspicuous from the Wengern Alp. A few days 
later, a fresh attempt (September 10) by some of his Grindelwald 
men was completely successful, six Grindelwald peasants, all 
bearing well-known local names, attaining the summit. They 
later received a double ducat apiece from the Government of 
Berne in recognition of their exploit, which opened yet a third 
route to the eastern foot of the Jungfrau. 

In 1S29 Hugi again besieged the Finsteraarhorn. After one 
failure, his party succeeded (August 10) in once more reaching 
the Hugisattel. But some way above it, Hugi did not dare to 
cross a steep ice slope, so that two of his guides, Jakob Leuthold 
and Johannes Wahren, both of Hasle, alone attained the summit, 
where they built a cairn, fixing in it a pole, to which they attached 
a flag. Let us add that it was not till 1842 that the first traveller, 
Herr J. Sulger, of Basel, attained the top of the Finsteraarhorn, 
where he found some iron rods, a rusty nail, and some threads, 
all signs of an earlier visit. Both of the previous parties had left 
flags on top, so that these relics might have belonged to one or 
to the other. 

Let us now turn to Monte Rosa. To the south of this great 
mountain mass extend the twin valleys of the Lys (Gressoney) 
and of the Sesia (Alagna), the head of each being inhabited 
by a German-speaking colony, that has come hither from the 
Vallais and settled down centuries ago. From the head of 
either valley it is comparatively easy to reach the wide opening 
of the Lysjoch (14,033 ft.) between the Lyskamm and the main 
Monte Rosa mass. Perhaps it was a faint, dim recollection of 
their descent, perhaps merely a laudable curiosity to verify an 
old legend as to what lay behind this mighty wall of snow and 


ice, that led to the first known exploration of the group. There 
was also a certain rivalry between the men of the two valleys. 
In 1778 the Gressoney men, hearing that the Alagna men 
proposed to explore these regions, determined to get ahead of 
them. So it was that on August 15, 1778, seven young fellows 
from the German-speaking colony of Gressoney (among them 
a Vincent and a Zumstein, names to be heard of again later) 
made a valiant attempt to solve this mystery. They succeeded 
in gaining a rocky tooth {c. 14,325 ft. in height), situated just 
to the W. of the great opening of the Lysjoch, and named by 
them the ' Rock of Discovery.' Hence they looked down into 
the ' Lost Valley,' of which legends told, and which was simply 
the immense hollow of ice and snow enclosed between Monte 
Rosa and the Lyskamm. It is said some of them repeated this 
expedition in 1779 ^"d in 1780, finally convincing themselves 
that beyond the snows there were pastures, occupied by cows 
and men; they were simply the 'alps' of the Riffel above 
Zermatt. Nothing more came of this exploration for the time. 
In 1 80 1 Dr. Pietro Giordani, of Alagna, vindicated the honour 
of his valley by climbing the lofty spur (13,304 ft.) of Monte 
Rosa that now bears his name. After a fruitless attack in 18 16 
by Dr. F. Parrot with Joseph Zumstein, J. N. Vincent, 1 785-1 865 
(son of one of the heroes of 1778), attained the summit called 
after him the Vincent Pyramide (13,829 ft.), being followed five 
days later by Herr Bernfaller, canon of the Great St. Bernard 
and cure of Gressoney, while two days later Vincent himself re- 
peated the climb, accompanied by a compatriot, Joseph Zumstein 
(1783-1861). The way was now open. In 1820 a large party, 
including J. N. Vincent, his younger brother, Joseph, and 
Zumstein, mounted (July 31) to the 'Rock of Discovery,' 
descended to the north, bivouacked in a tent pitched in a 
crevasse in the midst of the great snowy hollow already spoken 
of, and next morning reached the peak later known as the 
Zumsteinspitze (15,004 ft.), but 200 ft. odd below the culminat- 
ing summit of Monte Rosa. Here they erected an iron cross, 
which, as well as the initials of Zumstein and the two Vincents, 
carved in the highest rock, was found in 1886 by the present 


writer's party. This was the loftiest peak of Monte Rosa 
attained before 1848. Zumstein repeated the ascent of his 
peak in 182 1 and in 1822, while in the latter year an Austrian, 
Ludwig, Baron von Welden, mounted the lower summit, named 
by him (like the other peaks mentioned above) and known as 
the Ludwigshohe (14,259 ft.). These successes of the Gressoney 
men naturally caused some jealousy in the Alagna valley. So 
a young Alagna man, Giovanni Gnifetti (1801-1867), who in 
1823 became assistant curate at Alagna, of which he was the 
parish priest from 1834 to his death, undertook to vindicate 
the honour of his native valley. After unsuccessful attempts 
in 1834, 1836, and 1839, his perseverance was rewarded on 
August 9, 1842, when he gained the top of the Signalkuppe 
(14,965 ft.), a peak but little inferior in height to the Zumstein- 
spitze, and now also known by the name Punta Gnifetti. The 
final conquest (1848-1855) of the highest points of Monte Rosa 
is most conveniently described in the following section. 

If, however, the early attempts to conquer the second highest 
summit in the Alps were not crowned with success, it was other- 
wise with the loftiest peak in the Eastern Alps and in the Tyrol, 
the Ortler (12,802 ft.), that fell at almost the first serious attempt 
made to scale it. From 1800 onwards the Archduke John of 
Habsburg (1782-1859 — son of the Emperor Leopold 11,, and 
brother of Francis 11., the last of the Holy Roman Emperors — 
made frequent journeys in the Eastern Alps, and continued his 
wanderings till the year before his death, when he visited the 
Rigi. His most important ascent was that of the Ankogel 
(1826), though he took part in the attempt on the Gross 
Venediger in 1828. On his very first journey (1800) the 
archduke, struck by the glorious view of the Ortler that 
is gained as the traveller descends from the Reschen 
Scheideck to the head of the Vintschgau or upper Adige 
valley, had commissioned a member of his suite (this command 
recalls Charles viii. and Antoine de Ville in 1492), named 
Gebhard, to explore, and, if possible, climb this splendid peak, 
which Anich's Atlas of 1774 had declared to be the culminating 
point of the Tyrol. Gebhard undertook the fulfilment of this 


order in the summer of 1804, when he mounted to Sulden and 
organised several attempts from that side, sending out his own 
two Zillerthal guides as well as a number of men. But six or 
seven attacks all ended in failure. Gebhard was plunged in 
black despair, and sat miserably in his inn at Mais, his eyes 
ever fixed on the invincible peak, that displayed all its beauties 
to him in a more attractive form than ever. The landlord 
suddenly announced that a chamois hunter of St. Leonhard, in 
the Passeierthal, desired an interview with him. This man, 
Joseph Pichler by name (commonly known as Josele), had been 
previously indicated to Gebhard as the most likely person to 
succeed in the conquest of the Ortler. Josele agreed to make 
an attempt, and asked for a reward only in case of success. 
With Gebhard's two Zillerthal men (Johann Leitner and Johann 
Klausner) he left Trafoi at 1.30 a.m. the very next morning 
(September 27, 1804), and at 10 a.m. Gebhard himself saw the 
three bold mountaineers attain the coveted summit. In order 
to avoid the glaciers as much as possible, the three climbed up 
the rocks of the Hintere Wandln to the S.W. of the peak, a 
route that even now is reckoned as distinctly difficult and 
dangerous, while the party had only crampons and poles, but 
neither ice-axe nor rope. They carried a barometer with them, 
the reading of which showed that the Ortler was really higher 
than its rival, the Gross Glockner. Hence the immense joy 
with which their triumph was received was most genuine and 
unalloyed, especially as they regained Trafoi safe and sound at 
8 P.M. the same evening. Next year (1805) Josele discovered 
a better, though not an easy route, from Sulden by the Hinter 
Grat or S.E. ridge of the mountain. On August 30 (and again 
on September 16) Gebhard himself achieved the ascent, this 
being the sixth in all, but the first made by a traveller. It 
shows what almost incredible pluck and courage the early 
explorers had that on the night of September 13, thanks to 
Josele and his men, a great bonfire was kindled on the summit 
and blazed there for two hours, to the huge amazement of half 
Tyrol — further, the brave men descended from the peak that 
night by the light of torches. The giant was overcome, that 


was enough. Doubtless this accounts for the fact that during 
the next half-century but two ascents were made (in 1826 and 
in 1834), Josele being the guide in either case, and selecting 
on both occasions his original route of 1804. It was not 
attained (despite several attempts) again till 1864, when it was 
climbed by three Englishmen (Messrs. E. N. and H. E. Buxton, 
and Mr. F. F. Tuckett), with Christian Michel, of Grindelwald, 
and Fr. Biner, of Zermatt. Though the 1864 route has been 
superseded by easier lines of ascent, it was that ascent which 
revealed the Ortler to mountaineers in general, so that the 1864 
party, all strangers to the region, deserve almost as much credit 
as Josele and his two companions sixty years earlier. 

The ascent of 1834 had been made by one Peter Carl 
Thurwieser (i 789-1865), a Tyrolese ecclesiastic, who from 1820 
onwards held the post of Professor of Oriental Languages at the 
Lyceum at Salzburg. Blessed with small means, he had the true 
spirit of a mountain wanderer, and is credited with having been 
(despite his barometer and his botanical box) the first man in 
the Eastern Alps who climbed peaks for the sake of climbing, 
without any ulterior object — in short, the first real ' mountaineer ' 
(using that term in its restricted sense) in the Tyrol. He is said 
to have climbed over seventy peaks, great and small, in his day, his 
active career extending from 1820 to 1847. Of these the more 
important (besides the Watzmann in 1820, the Ankogel in 1822, 
the Gross Glockner in 1824, and the Ortler in 1834) were the first 
ascents in 1833 of the Strahlkogel (in the Stubai region), in 
1836 of the Fernerkogel (in the Stubai region), in 1846 of the 
Gross Morchner, and in 1847 of the Schrammacher (both these 
peaks belonging to the Zillerthal group). He also made the 
first ascents by a traveller in 1825 of the Gross Wiesbachhorn 
(Glockner group), in 1834 of the Dachstein, and in 1836 
of the Habicht (Stubai Alps). He accompanied on several 
climbs Prince Frederick von Schwarzenberg (1809-1885), who 
was from 1835 to 1850 Prince-archbishop of Salzburg (later 
of Prague, and cardinal in 1842). Among the chief ascents 
made by the archbishop (without Thurwieser) were the Gross 
Wiesbachhorn (1841) and at uncertain dates the Kitzteinhorn 


and the Hochtenn, all three in the Glockner group. It is said 
that once when the archbishop was on a confirmation round in 
the Pinzgau he recognised among the crowd awaiting his arrival 
a chamois hunter who had formerly served him as guide, and 
whose hand he shook heartily, before attending to all the more 
important ecclesiastics and laymen who stood around. 

We come back to the Archduke John (with whom also 
Thurwieser was acquainted) and his attempt on the Gross 
Venediger (12,008 ft.) in 1828. An imperial forester, Paul 
Rohregger, had conceived the idea of climbing this virgin 
peak by the steep snow slopes on its N.W. slope, and had 
convinced himself of the practicability of this route. Hence on 
August 9, 1828, a party of 17 (including the archduke, and A. 
von Ruthner), led by Rohregger, set out for the ascent. The 
weather was superb, but the sun very hot, while fresh snow 
delayed the advance of such a large party. Rohregger led the 
way over the bergschrund, and was followed by three other 
guides, who improved the steps he cut in the ice, while the 
remainder were roped together and followed more slowly. At 
a certain point, the state of the snow seemed so dangerous at 
the late hour of the day (2 p.m.) that Rohregger advised retreat. 
While this proposal was being debated an avalanche broke loose 
above and swept away Rohregger into the yawning bergschrund 
at the foot of the slope. This incident put an end at once to all 
idea of further advance, though luckily Rohregger was rescued 
without having suffered much damage. Such an experience 
gave an evil reputation to the peak. But finally on September 
3, 1 84 1, it was conquered (this time by its S.E. slope) by a large 
party. No fewer than twenty-six persons attained the summit, 
among them being old Rohregger and A. von Ruthner, who was 
destined to play such a prominent part in the further exploration 
of the Eastern Alps, and who survived long enough to celebrate 
the jubilee of his exploit. Thus by 1841 three of the best 
known Tyrolese peaks (the Ortler, the Gross Glockner, and the 
Gross Venediger) had been subdued, but it was not till the 
' sixties ' that the Eastern Alps finally yielded up most of their 
secrets to the indefatigable curiosity of a few bold explorers. 



IV.— Ascents made between c. 1840 and 1865 

This period may be described as that of the almost complete 
conquest of the High Alps, though certain remoter districts did 
not attract much attention till later. An examination of the 
Chronological List printed below as Appendix 11. amply proves 
this general statement, and gives the reader a bird's-eye view 
of the gradual spread and increase of climbs among the High 
Alps. There is thus a superabundance of matter to consider, 
but our limits do not allow us to do more than indicate a few 
of the main features of this great extension of mountaineering 
zeal. It seems best, therefore, to give first a short account of 
the principal continental climbers during this period, and then 
to dwell more in detail on the exploits of English mountaineers, 
who appeared later on the scene than their foreign rivals, but 
completed their work. 

The most prominent figure in the Alpine history of our period 
is, of course, Gottlieb Studer (1804-1890), of Berne. Born 
only five years after the death of Saussure, he made his first 
ascent at the early age of four years in 1808 (before the Jungfrau 
had been vanquished), that of a hill named Rafriiti (3950 ft.), 
near Langnau in the Emmenthal, and repeated this expedition 
in 1883, seventy-five years later. His own list of mountain 
climbs extends from 1823 to 1883, and includes six hundred 
and forty-three distinct entries, while between 1823 and 1881 he 
drew no fewer than seven hundred and ten mountain panoramas 
and views. His first high expedition seems to have been an 
attack on the Diablerets in 1825 (he made the first ascent of 
this peak in 1850), and his last the Pic d'Arzinol in 1883. His 
best work was done between 1839 and 1876, and lay mainly 
in the Bernese Oberland and the Pennines, though he visited all 
other parts of the Swiss Alps, not to speak of the Dauphine 
(185 1 and 1873), ^^ Graians (1855, 1856, and 1858), and the 
Tyrol (1846 and 1880). Everywhere he went he made new 
ascents or passes, or opened routes known previously only to 
the natives. He published comparatively little, though his 


detailed MS, accounts are still carefully preserved. But his 
two maps of the Southern Valleys of the Vallais (1849 ^^^ 
1853), and his elaborate history of climbing in the Swiss Alps, 
issued in 4 vols., 1869-1883 (new edition in 3 vols., 1896-9), 
under the title of Ueber Eis und Schnee, have proved of the 
highest value to his successors. He must be distinguished 
from his cousin Bernard (1794-1887), also of Berne, who also 
travelled much in the Alps for the sake of his geological studies, 
whereas Gottlieb devoted his attention rather to topography 
and actual climbing. Of the early Ziirich school of climbers, 
Melchior Ulrich (1802-1893) is the principal. His first Alpine 
journey dates from 1814, and he ascended the Titlis as early 
as 1833, while his last high climb was made in 187 1. He 
travelled a good deal with Gottlieb Studer. Historically his 
great achievement was the exploration, from 1847 to 1852, of 
the glacier passes around Zermatt, at that time barely known 
by name. Later he devoted himself mainly to Eastern Switzer- 
land. Another Ziirich climber of those days was Heinrich 
Zeller-Hor7ier (1810-1897), whose activity was mainly confined 
to Central and Eastern Switzerland. Georg Hoffmanfi (1808- 
1858), of Basel, specialised on the peaks around the Maderaner- 
thal, publishing thereon an interesting work in 1843, though his 
great Panorama of that range, drawn in 1852, was not published 
till 1865. Adouard Desor (1811-1882), of Neuchatel, is best 
known as one of the early scientific men who studied on the 
spot glacial phenomena and especially the vexed question of 
the motion of glaciers. It was probably because he chose 
as the scene of his labours, from 1840 to 1845, the Unteraar 
glacier, above the Grimsel, that as a mountaineer his name 
is associated almost exclusively with the high peaks of the 
Bernese Oberland. So in 1841 he made the first ascent of 
the Ewigschneehorn and the fourth of the Jungfrau (not visited 
since 1828), in 1842 the first ascent of the Gross Lauteraarhorn, 
in 1844 the first ascent of the Rosenhorn peak of the Wetter- 
horner (his two Meiringen guides being sent a few days later 
to conquer the Hasle Jungfrau summit of that group), finally 
in 1845 the second ascent (the first by a traveller) of the Hasle 


Jungfrau, and the second ascent of the Galenstock. His two works 
(1844-5), together with those of Gottlieb Studer, G. Hofitmann, 
and J. D. Forbes (all issued in 1843), formed, till 1856-7, the 
principal books devoted for the most part to descriptions of 
climbs among the High Alps. A line of mention must also 
be accorded to J. Coaz (still living), who, from 1846 to 1850, 
climbed many peaks in the Engadine, including its highest 
summit, the Piz Bernina (1850). 

Of a younger generation are the three following mountaineers. 
J. J. Weilenmann (1819-1896), of St. Gall, did not begin his 
Alpine career proper till the early 'fifties': in 1855 ^^ made 
the second ascent of Monte Rosa, while his total list is stated 
to exceed three hundred and fifty peaks and passes, all in 
Switzerland or the western portion of the Tyrol. He is probably 
the first amateur who made high ascents without any companion 
whatsoever. The Austrians, Karl von Sonklar (181 6-1 885), 
Anton von Ruthner (1817-1897), J. A. Specht (1828-1894), and 
E. von Mojsisovics (1839-1907), all explored different regions 
of the Eastern Alps, and wrote (this does not, however, apply to 
the second couple) elaborate w^orks relating to their wanderings. 

This list of pre-1865 Continental climbers may suffice, as it 
includes the chief names of those who have died, though it 
might easily be made much longer. 

The attentive reader may have noticed, perhaps with some 
astonishment, that hitherto the names of English climbers 
mentioned in this chapter have been few and far between. 
The simple reason for this apparent neglect is that before about 
1840 very few Englishmen made any high ascents, a fact which 
is certainly curious. From 1840 to 1855 the number grows, 
while from 1855 onwards the English explorers of the High 
Alps carry all before them, even though their number does not 
come up to that of their foreign rivals. 

Up to about 1840 the present writer, who has taken some 
pains to look into the matter, has only discovered the following 
high climbs made by Englishmen, including in that term 


Scotchmen and Americans. Mr, Hill in 1786 reopened the Col 
du Geant, and was followed by one or two parties, among which 
were Mrs. and Miss Campbell (1822), the earliest English lady 
climbers of whom the names have come down to us. Colonel 
Beaufoy went up Mont Blanc in 1787, but up to 1840 we cannot 
reckon more than a dozen English parties which had followed 
in his steps. Mr. Cade's party crossed the St. Theodule in 1800, 
and he too had a few successors among his compatriots, such as 
Mr. William Brockedon (1825), and Mr. Frank Walker (1826). 
The Zermatt Breithorn was visited in 1822 by Sir John Herschel, 
and again in 1830 by Lord ]\Iinto. In 1828 Mr. Frederick Slade 
and Mr. Yeats Brown made a valiant, though unsuccessful, 
attempt to climb the Jungfrau from the Roththal, while in 1826 
Mr. Frank Walker crossed the Oberaarjoch and in 1835 Mr. 
Callander what seems to be the Old Strahlegg Pass. In 1828-9 
Mr. William Brockedon visited one glacier pass in the Graians, 
and went over a number of lower passes, his descriptions form- 
ing the basis of Part 11. of Murray's Handbook for Switzerland, 
Savoy, and Piedmont, which first appeared in 1838. The list is 
not long. Yet in it there are no climbs that were made for the 
first time, save two doubtful exceptions — Mr. Hill only 're- 
opened ' the Col du Geant, known over a century before, while 
Mr. Callander's guides probably took him over the Old Strahlegg 
by mistake, without in the least intending to make a ' new 
expedition.' In short, up to about 1840, English travellers, who 
were many, showed a deplorable lack of Alpine ambition. 

But matters take a different aspect from about 1840 to 1850. 
True, only four English ascents of Mont Blanc are recorded in 
that period, though in 1841 a plucky Scotchwoman, Mrs. Cowan, 
crossed the Strahlegg. But in 1839 we find the names of two 
Englishmen mentioned as having made some sort of mild high 
expedition. In that year A. T. Malkin (1803-1888) went up the 
Buet and over the Tschingel Pass, while in 1840 he crossed the 
St. Theodule twice, and also traversed the Lotschen Pass, climbing 
the Hockenhorn on the way — in 1843 he went over the Strahlegg, 
then, beating Brockedon, crossed the Col de la Galise, and 
followed the steps of Forbes over the Col de Collon and the Col 


d'Herens. In 1839, too,y. D. Forbes (1809-1868, later Principal 
of the United College in St. Andrews) crossed the Col della 
Nouva (near Cogne) and some passes near Monte Viso, also visit- 
ing the Veneon valley in the Dauphine Alps. In 1841 he traversed 
two glacier passes (the Col du Says and the Col du Sellar) in 
the Dauphine Alps, and two in the Bernese Oberland (the Gauli 
Pass and the Oberaarjoch), besides making the second ascent 
of the Ewigschneehorn and the fourth (the first non-Swiss) of 
the Jungfrau. In 1842 he went over the Cols du Geant, de 
Collon, and d'Herens, and the St. Theodule, ascending from 
the Col d'Herens the Stockhorn, near by. In 1844 he ascended 
the Wasenhorn, near the Simplon, while in 1850 he crossed the 
Col Blanc (near the Col du Tour) and the Fenetre de Saleinaz. 
This list of Forbes's climbs is really superb for the time, and 
entitles him (without in the least taking into account his 
immense services to the cause of natural science) to be con- 
sidered as the earliest English mountaineer, who regularly 
undertook high ascents for a series of years, for Malkin con- 
tented himself mainly with passes. Forbes tells us in one 
passage of his writings that the Riffelhorn was first climbed in 
1842 by some English students from Fellenberg's famous school 
at Hofwyl, near Berne, but in another place he attributes this 
exploit to some local goat-herds. If we disregard this peak, as 
being too low to count, it is Forbes himself who has the honour 
of having made the earhest ' first ascents ' achieved by a British 
subject, for both his Stockhorn (11,795 ft.), in 1842, and his 
Wasenhorn (10,680 ft.), in 1844, were apparently virgin peaks, 
though he is run close by his brother Scotsman, Mr. Speer, who 
in 1845 made the first ascent of the Mittelhorn (12,166 ft.), the 
culminating point of the three Wetterhorner. Forbes's book, 
Travels through the Alps of Savoy, issued in 1843, was the first 
English book (as distinguished from pamphlets, such as those 
published by the heroes who went up Mont Blanc) devoted to 
the High Alps. In another way, too, Forbes is important in the 
history of Alpine exploration, for he tells us expressly that he 
tried to follow the example set by Saussure in his great work 
on the Alps, and in 1826 he actually had with him one of 


Saussure's guides, J. M. Cachat, nicknamed 'le Geant' (so 
called owing to his having gone round the Aiguille du Geant 
on the passage of the col of that name). On the other hand, 
he encouraged Wills, Tuckett, and Adams-Reilly, in the period 
from 1857 to 1866, and thus served as a link, so to speak, 
which bound Saussure to his true heirs, who half a century 
after his death were just taking up the non-scientific as well as 
the scientific part of his labours and carrying them towards their 
ultimate goal. 

Even more important than Forbes, so far as regards an active 
and powerful direct influence on the rising generation of 
ambitious English cUmbers, is John Ba// (iSiS-i8Sg), an Irish- 
man, who, as years went on, freed himself from the cares of 
State and devoted himself, more fervently than ever, to his 
favourite pursuit of botany, which carried him far and wide 
through every district of the Alps. He had tried Mont Blanc 
in 1840, also climbing the Grauhaupt and crossing the St. Theo- 
dule. In 1845 he discovered and traversed (serving as guide to 
his so-called Zermatt guide) the glacier pass of the Schwarzthor, 
near Zermatt, while in 1852 he went over the Strahlegg. But 
his real Alpine career commenced in 1853 and lasted till 1866. 
He was up the Gross Glockner (perhaps the first Englishman on 
this mountain) in 1854, while in 1857 he made the first ascent 
of the Pelmo (the first great Dolomite peak to feel man's foot), 
in i860 tried the yet virgin Marmolata (highest of all Dolomites), 
and was the first to reach the Cima Tosa (1865) in the Brenta 
Dolomites. His other ascents were comparatively unimportant, 
for, as a botanist, passes appealed more to him, and by 1863 
(as he tells us himself) he had crossed the main chain of the 
Alps forty-eight times by thirty-two different passes, besides 
traversing nearly a hundred of the lateral passes. Of his activity 
in the early years of the Alpine Club more will be said below. 
Few men, if any, have ever known the whole of the Alps better 
than he did, while none did while he was in his prime. Yet in 
the actual number of high climbs he is only among the first, 
not at the head of the list, partly because it scarcely entered 
into his plans to undertake high expeditions other than those 



which might really assist him in some department (botanical or 
topographical) of his life's work. 

By 1850 the period of preparation had arrived, and English 
climbers began to occupy the field. Whereas from 1787 to 
1850 there had only been seventeen English (including the one 
American party, and Mr. Nicholson, who went up in 1843 ^^i'^^ 
the Prior of Chamonix) ascents of Mont Blanc to sixteen non- 
English, travellers of no nationaUty other than English or Ameri- 
can (eleven of these only) made the ascent of Mont Blanc in 
1850, 1851, 1852, 1853, and 1855, while in 1854 there were three 
non-English only, and in 1856 and in 1857 but one. The mere 
number of ascents and travellers vastly increased from 1854 
onwards. The sudden change is startling, and is not altogether 
to be explained by the great vogue of Albert Smith's enter- 
tainment (in 1852) on the subject of his ascent in 1851. It 
is rather a sign that at last Englishmen were waking up to the 
fact that ' mountaineering ' is a pastime that combines many 
advantages, and is worth pursuing as an end in itself, without 
any regard to any thought of the advancement of natural 

Here let us commemorate briefly a bold young English 
climber, Eardley J. Blackwell, whose memory now survives only 
in a few scattered notices, but whose exploits were very remark- 
able for the date. In 1850 he made the first travellers' passage 
of the New Weissthor near Zermatt, and traversed the Col du 
Geant. In 1852 he crossed, in an unusually short time, the 
Tschingel Pass and the Strahlegg. In June, 1854, he climbed 
the Hasle Jungfrau (Wetterhorner) from the Rosenlaui side 
(being the first Englishman to reach the summit). A few days 
later he tried it from the Grindelwald side, though failing, 
owing to a violent storm, while the iron flag he planted just 
below the final corniche was found three months later by Mr. 
(later Sir Alfred) Wills. On all these climbs he was accom- 
panied by Christian Bleuer, one of the early Grindelwald 
guides, who does not, however, seem to have been with him 
when he ascended Mont Blanc early in August, 1854. Mr. 
Heathman, who met him in that year at Chamonix, tells us that 


he made the last-named ascent in two hours less than any pre- 
ceding party. He thus describes him: 'The fact is, there 
was no guide the match for him. He was six feet three, rather 
bony, but carrying no weight ; he had the eye of a hawk and 
the legs of a chamois, combined with the utmost enterprise, 
perseverance, and courage. He made light of the ascent of 
Mont Blanc. As to its difficulties, he said they by no means 
equalled his previous feats, though the time required was longer. 
He was perfectly acquainted with every nook and corner of the 
Alps, having walked over them, in them, and among them, 
forward and backward, up and down, in every direction, for three 
years. On parting with him for his ascent [of Mont Blanc], I 
wished him success, and all the pleasure which he anticipated, 
"Although," said I, "I confess I do not know what that is." 
He replied he did not know either, except, being an idle man, 
he loved the excitement, and always felt a desire to do what 
others had done before him.' 

After some preliminary skirmishes, for training purposes, the 
ball was opened (quite apart from Mont Blanc) in 1854. The 
establishment of the Hotel on the Riffelberg (1854) greatly 
facilitated excursions in the neighbourhood of Monte Rosa. In 
1847 MM. Ordinaire and Puiseux had made the first attempt on 
the highest peak from the Swiss side, but the party only reached 
the Silbersattel, the depression between the two highest summits. 
In 1848 the two guides of Herr M. Ulrich attained the Grenz- 
gipfel (15,194 ft.), the point at which the great spur, on which 
rises the loftiest point of Monte Rosa, joins the main watershed, 
and in 1851 the brothers Schlagintweit, with two guides, gained 
the same point. It thus rises to the E. of the highest crest of 
Monte Rosa, which is crowned by two horns — the Ostspitze 
and the Dufourspitze— the latter (15,217 ft.) being slightly the 
higher. Now it was on September i, 1854, that the Ostspitze 
was first certainly ascended, the conquerors being three young 
Englishmen, the brothers Smyth, who were followed on Septem- 
ber II by Mr. E. S. Kennedy. But neither of these parties, 
for reasons now undiscoverable, pushed on to the W., over the 
not difficult ridge, to the very loftiest summit. A few days after 


these exploits, on September 17, 1854, Mr. (now Sir Alfred) 
Wills succeeded in making the first ascent of the Hasle Jung- 
frau peak (already ascended at least twice previously by another 
route) from Grindelwald ; it had been nearly attained by the 
same route, on June 13, by Mr. Eardley J. Blackwell, another 
Englishman, and attempted as early as 1845 by a Swiss party. 
These two ascents, especially that of the Wetterhorn, which was 
quite complete, open the era of English rule over the highest 
summits of the Alps. Next year, on July 31, 1855, a large 
English party, comprising the Revs. Christopher and Grenville 
Smyth (two of the heroes of 1854), E. J. Stevenson, and Charles 
Hudson (to perish in 1865 on the Matterhorn) and Mr. J. Birk- 
beck, with four guides, at length attained the very highest tip of 
the loftiest point of Monte Rosa, the second peak in the Alps, 
then first won by man — they took the now usual route from the 
Sattel on the W., which does not seem to have been tried before. 
A fortnight later, on August 14, the two Smyths and Mr. 
Hudson, with the addition of Messrs. E. S. Kennedy and 
C. Ainslie, but without guides, had the honour of making the 
first ascent of Mont Blanc from St. Gervais by way of the 
Dome du Goiter, thus opening up a new route which enabled 
travellers to resist the exactions of the Chamonix guides. The 
party descended from the Dome to the Grand Plateau and com- 
pleted the ascent by the ordinary route. It was not till 1859 
that a party ventured to push from the Grand Plateau over the 
Bosses du Dromadaire to the summit, while it was only in 1861 
that the first complete ascent from St. Gervais over the Dome 
and the Bosses was effected. But the exploit of 1855 was a 
very great one, and all the more noteworthy because on August 8 
previous, the same party, with Messrs. Stevenson and Joad, but 
without guides also, had very nearly effected the ascent of Mont 
Blanc from the Col du Geant by way of the Mont Blanc du 
Tacul ; this way had been tried on July 31, by Mr. (now Sir) J. H. 
Ramsay, who actually reached the Mur de la Cote, whereas the 
others were driven back from the top of the Mont Blanc du 
Tacul (13,941 ft.), of which one member of the party made the 
first ascent in order to reconnoitre. Messrs. Hudson and Kennedy 


published an account of their feat of 1855 on Mont Blanc 
under the title of Where there ^s a Will there 's a Way (to 
the second edition, also issued in 1856, there was added an 
account of the conquest of Monte Rosa), while in 1856 Mr. 
Wills published his Wanderings among the High Alps, that was 
followed in 1857 by Mr. Hinchliff's Summer Months among the 
Alps ; these three works were the first literary products of the 
new English school of mountaineers, and so are historically very 
important. In 1856 a number of young Englishmen tried, 
though in vain, to complete the St. Gervais route by the Bosses, 
and to strike out a new route up Mont Blanc from the Col de 
Miage. This party (none of whom have yet been named) repre- 
sents an accession of numbers to those of 1855. In 1857 still 
more new men come into prominence. On August 13 the Rev. J. 
F. Hardy, Messrs. William and St. John Mathews, R. EUis, 
and E. S. Kennedy, with a number of guides, achieved the first 
English ascent of the Finsteraarhorn (the fifth in all, though 
the second by travellers), while on August 20 Mr. John Ball 
reached (alone) the lowest of the three summits of the Trugberg, 
and on September 19 (again alone) the highest point of the 
Pelmo in the Dolomites, both 'first ascents.' Mr. William 
Mathews had in 1854 climbed the Mont Velan, and in 1856 
Monte Rosa, and on August 19, 1857, was the first traveller to 
reach the Pointe de Graffeneire (14,108 ft.), only fifty-six feet 
below the highest point of the Grand Combin, while on August 
7, 1857, Mr. Eustace Anderson, attempting the Gross Schreck- 
horn, had vanquished the Klein Schreckhorn. 

The idea of founding a society to serve as a rallying-point for 
all Englishmen interested in the novel pastime of moun- 
taineering was first thrown out in a letter written on February i, 
1857, by Mr. Mathews to Mr. Hort. On August 3, 1857, Mr. 
William Mathews made the acquaintance of Mr. Kennedy, while 
both were walking down the Hasle valley, a few days before their 
joint ascent of the Finsteraarhorn. The idea quickly ripened, 
and took form on November 6, 1857, at a private dinner held at 
the residence of the Mathews family in Birmingham, several 
members of that family being present as well as Mr. Kennedy. 


If the first idea came from Mr. William Mathews (i 828-1901), 
there is no doubt that it was Mr. Kennedy (1817-1898) 'who 
was chiefly responsible for carrying the idea into practical effect,' 
for he it was who communicated with the English climbers of 
the day, inviting them to join together with this object in view. 
His letters met with unexpected success ; the first meeting was 
held on December 22, 1857, and the first dinner (for originally 
the ' Alpine Club ' was merely a dining society, hence its name, 
thou2;h it would be better described as an ' Association ' or a 
'Society') took place on February 2, 1858, when Mr. Kennedy 
was elected Vice-President, and Mr. Hinchliff (1826-1882) 
Honorary Secretary ; the Presidency was not filled up till 
March 31, 1858, when Mr. John Ball was elected to the office. 
The list of ' original members ' (several of whom still survive, 
though two only are still in the Club) contained thirty-four 
names, but in 1859 there were already one hundred and twenty- 
four members, while on July 19, 1859, J. D. Forbes was most 
deservedly elected the first Honorary Member. 

It was obvious that the young society must justify its existence 
to the outer world, then still somewhat sceptical as to the 
advantages of mountaineering. Its first literary production, 
entitled Peaks, Passes, and Glaciers, and edited by Mr. John Ball, 
appeared in the spring of 1859, while in 1862 a second series in 
two volumes, but under the same title, was brought out under 
the direction of the indefatigable Mr. Kennedy. Both works 
met with great success, though scoffers were not wanting to 
predict evil things as to this novel method of trying to break 
one's neck. 

The years that lie between 1859 and 1865 are the ' golden age ' 
of mountaineering. The Chronological List, printed as Appen- 
dix II. below, will show how peak after peak fell before the 
furious onslaught of the youthful enthusiasts. Among the most 
brilliant lights of that wonderful period, four men (we mention 
only those who have passed away from us) stand out above their 
fellows. William Matheivs swept through the Western and 
Central Alps, his most glorious conquests (after 1857) being the 
Eigerjoch and the Lysjoch (1859), the Grande Casse (i860), 


Monte Viso (1861), and Mont Pourri (1862, reached first in 
in October 1861 by his guide, Michel Croz) ; his explorations in 
the South-Western Alps and elsewhere form one of the most 
brilliant pages in the annals of mountaineering, and make one 
regret that his active climbing career extended only from 1854 
to 1863. Next we have Leslie Stephen (1832-1904), with his 
grand bag of Alpine novelties, mainly in the Bernese Oberland 
— Eigerjoch, Bietschhorn, and Rimpfischhorn (1859), Bliimlis- 
alphorn and Oberaarhorn (i860), Gross Schreckhorn (1861), 
Jungfraujoch, Fiescherjoch, and Monte della Disgrazia (1862), 
and Zinal Rothhorn (1864), while the Mont Mallet (187 1) and 
Col des Hirondelles (1873), as well as his historic Dolomite 
wanderings (1869) and his splendid book (1871), belong to a 
later period. Then we have A. IV. Moore (1841-1887), the 
English climber who devoted himself most fervently to the 
Bernese Oberland, though his list includes many other mag- 
nificent climbs — Jungfraujoch, Gross Fiescherhorn, Sesiajoch 
(1862), the Pointe des Ecrins and the Col de la Pilatte, both in 
the Dauphine Alps, and the Moming Pass (1864), the Ober 
Gabelhorn, Mont Blanc from the Brenva glacier, and Piz Roseg 
(1865), besides his passages (1866) of the Strahlegg and the 
Finsteraarjoch in winter, thus opening up a new form of moun- 
taineering. His book The Alps in 1864 (privately issued in 
1867, published in 1902) is one of the most delightful works on 
the Alps ever written. And, as we think of these three EngUsh- 
men who so loved the Bernese Oberland, let us join with them 
the Bernese climber, Edmund von Fellenberg (i 838-1 902), whose 
entire Alpine career, from 1856 to 1883, was exclusively given 
to that district, which he knew topographically, geologically, and 
bibliographically, perhaps better than, certainly as well as, any 
of his contemporaries. Let us also record here the fact that the 
twelve sheets of the Dufour map which figure the Swiss Alps 
were published between 1845 and 1865, the name Dufourspitze 
being conferred in 1863 on the highest point of Monte Rosa 
(the loftiest peak rising wholly within Swiss territory) by the 
Swiss Federal Government in honour of the head of the survey 
thus happily completed (the original minutes on a large scale, 


now known as the Siegfried Atlas, were issued from 1870 

The glorious weather that prevailed during the summer of 
1 86 1 was profitably employed to conquer many lofty peaks that 
had hitherto defied the efforts of puny men to surmount them. 
The harvest was less plentiful in 1862, the year which saw the 
foundation of the Austrian Alpine Club, the first child of 
the Alpine Club. But the year 1863 saw many fresh defeats 
of proud peaks. It was noteworthy, too, for a series of events 
which showed how the taste for climbing was extending and 
developing. In March, 1863, the Alpine Club issued the first 
number of the Alpine Journal^ a quarterly intended to appear 
more frequently than annual or triennial volumes, and the first 
periodical that was wholly devoted to the mountains. In April, 
1863, the Swiss Alpine Club was founded, and in October the 
Italian Alpine Club. Finally, in July, 1863, Mr. John Ball 
brought out vol. i. (Western Alps) of his Alpt?ie Guide, in the 
compilation of which all the prominent English climbers of the 
day had assisted him. Thus the Alps had now a special 
periodical and a special guide-book of their own. Mr. Ball's 
second vol. (Central Alps) was issued in 1864, but vol. iii., 
describing the Eastern Alps, did not come out till 1868. 

The climbing season of 1864 was by far the most brilliant 
that had yet been recorded. Yet its splendour pales before 
the extraordinary triumphs achieved in that of 1865, as will be 
seen on reference to our Chronological List (Appendix 11.), 
though this does not reckon in the numerous difficult glacier 
passes that were forced in these two memorable years. 

Shall we say that pride goes before a fall ? or shall we count 
it simply as a last expiring act of revenge on the part of the 
Spirit of the Mountains ? The great exploit of the summer of 
1865 was the conquest of the Matterhorn, that proud summit 
which for years had baffled the most persevering efforts of the 
most accomplished mountaineers, amateur or professional. 
Yet on July 14, it, too, had to yield to the foot of man, while the 
ascent, achieved by a route hitherto never seriously attempted, 
proved far easier than had ever been anticipated. But, as is 


well known, on the descent, a frightful accident occurred, 
wherein four men perished, while three (Mr. E. Whymper 
and two Zermatt guides) were saved by the breaking of the 
rope between the two divisions of the party. Those who 
died in the moment of victory were the Rev. Charles Hudson 
(b. 1828), often mentioned above; Lord Francis Douglas 
(b. 1847), ^ very skilful mountaineer; Mr. D. Hadow, a 
young man, spending his first season amongst the Alps; and 
the guide, Michel Croz (b. 1830), of Chamonix, one of the best 
of the day. Though this catastrophe occurred quite early in the 
season, its full effect was not realised till after its close. Never 
before had so many lives — still less those of three Englishmen — 
been lost at one time on a high peak, never before had such 
experienced climbers paid the penalty of a shp, never before had 
a 'milor's' life ended in such tragic fashion, never before had 
victory in the Alps been so quickly followed by Death. It was 
the most dramatic event in a most dramatic year, and the cause 
of mountaineering seemed to be lost for ever, so deep and 
lasting was the impression made by this terrible event. 








THREE days after the Matterhorn accident, and on the 
very day when that peak was first attained from the 
Italian side, the present writer made his first Alpine ascent, that 
of the Niesen, near Thun. Two months later he made his first 
glacier expedition, the Strahlegg, and visited Zermatt. He was 
thus one of the earliest recruits to mountaineering after the 
accident, and went on climbing for thirty-three years. Hence he 
can recollect vividly the sort of palsy that fell upon the good cause 
after that frightful catastrophe of July 14, 1865, particularly 
amongst English climbers. Few in numbers, all knowing each 
other personally, shunning the public gaze as far as possible 
(and in those days it was possible to do so), they went about 
under a sort of dark shade, looked on with scarcely disguised 
contempt by the world of ordinary travellers. They, so to speak, 
climbed on sufferance, enjoying themselves much, it is true, but 
keeping all expression of that joy to themselves in order not to 
excite derision. There were then few Club huts and few con- 
veniences in the shape of high mountain hotels. But there was 
no crowd on the hills, and one could still revel in the silence 
that reigned among them. The journey from England to the Alps 
was still expensive and took a long time. That drawback did not 
affect foreign climbers so much, but even they felt the mountain 
gloom that prevailed. A glance at our Chronological List of 
Ascents (Appendix 11.) will show that from 1866 till about 1870 
not so many important peaks (yet there was no lack of abundance 
of such peaks to conquer) were vanquished as during the 
previous five or six years. A closer study will reveal the fact 



that the summits which fell in that dark period were the booty of 
relatively very few men, though this feature was perhaps less well 
marked in the Eastern Alps. Two personal experiences may 
illustrate this sorrowful period in the history of climbing. Early 
in July, 1 868, the present writer met, in the Gleckstein cave on 
the Wetterhorn, Mr. Julius Elliott (who was killed next year on 
the Schreckhorn). In the course of conversation Mr. Elliott 
revealed, almost under the seal of confession, his strong desire, 
even his fixed intention, to attempt shortly the Matterhorn from 
the Swiss side. This feat he achieved a fortnight later, this 
being the first complete ascent on that side since the accident. 
It caused a very great sensation, as it proved that the expedition 
was not so absolutely certain to end fatally as had been 
imagined by many. The charm had been broken, but it 
required a man of strong will to break it. Some years later, in 
1 87 1, when it fell to the turn of the present writer to ascend the 
Matterhorn, it was still considered a most remarkable thing that 
within the same week two ascents of the dreaded peak should 
have been made with complete success. 

Little by little the inevitable reaction set in, as it was more 
and more clearly realised that climbing high peaks did not 
without fail end in a catastrophe. In 1869 the German Alpine 
Club was founded, and in 1873 it was united with the Austrian 
Alpine Club (founded in 1862) under the name of the ' German 
and Austrian Alpine Club.' In 1870 (despite the war) the 
number of fine new climbs, especially those made by Englishmen, 
shows a distinct advance. This fresh start is particularly marked 
in 187 1. In that year also Leslie Stephen published his delightful 
work The Flaygroutid of Europe, and Mr. Whymper his remark- 
able Scrambles amongst the Alps in the Years 1860-9, both books 
stimulating powerfully the new current that had begun to run 
again after being blocked for several years. In 187 1, too, the 
Alpine Club took a fresh lease of life. It had been held by 
some that all the Alps being now conquered, its task was over, 
and that its periodical, the Alpi?ie Journal, might well be allowed 
to expire, through the apprehended difficulty of securing 
material wherewith to fill its pages. But the appointments, at 



the end of 187 1, of Mr. A. W. Moore as Honorary Secretary of 
the Club, and of Mr. Douglas Freshfield as Editor of the 
Alpine Journal, proved the turning-point in its fortunes. In 
1861 it had numbered but 158 members, but in 1871 the list 
rose to 298 and in 1875 ^o 361. The bold ascent of Monte 
Rosa from Macugnaga, in 1872, by the Rev. C. Taylor and Messrs. 
R. and W. M. Pendlebury, showed that the Alps were not yet 
' exhausted,' and the lists of new ascents begin to increase year 
by year. In January, 1874, great Alpine peaks (the Wetterhorn 
and the Jungfrau) were ascended for the first time in winter, 
both exploits being achieved by the present writer's aunt (whom 
he accompanied), these climbs indicating also the gradual spread 
of mountaineering by ladies, which was still in its infancy. In 
1874, too, the French Alpine Club was founded, the latest born 
of the great Alpine Clubs of Europe. The ' revival ' was now in 
full swing and was never more to be checked. Yet it was from 
the end of the ' seventies ' that fatal accidents in the High Alps 
became more and more common. Hitherto they had been com- 
paratively rare. Now they increased in number even more 
rapidly than did the rising number of persons who made high 
ascents. Perhaps this was due to a diminution in the feeling of 
mystery and awe that had long half-veiled the mountains, 
perhaps to a lamentable want of prudence, due also to the 
growing familiarity with the Alps, though not with their dangers. 
The present writer realised all too keenly this terrible growth in 
the number of Alpine accidents, for he was Editor of the 
Alpine Journal (in succession to Mr. Freshfield) from 1880 to 
1889, and he will never forget the distressing task that awaited 
him every autumn of telling the tale (in a double sense) of the 
mishaps of the past season, and then of passing judgment upon 
the unfortunate victims. 

This revived interest in climbing naturally brought with it 
new developments, whether for good or for evil. Let us 
therefore pause here a moment in order to mention certain 
matters that are only indirectly connected with these new 

The twenty years that elapsed between 187 1-3 and 189 1-3 saw 


the completion of the conquest of the Alps, to mention only the 
most glorious feats of arms — the two summits of the Rosen- 
garten in 1872 and 1874, the Sass Maor in 1875, the Meije in 
1877, the Aiguille du Dru in 1878, the Aiguille des Grands 
Charmoz in 1880, the Aiguille de Grepon in 1881, the 
Aiguille Blanche de Peteret in 1885, and a whole series of not 
very lofty but exceedingly difficult Dolomite needles between 
1884 (Croda da Lago) and 1890 (the Fiinffingerspitze). It saw 
also the reorganisation of the practical side of climbing — new 
Club huts were built, new high mountain hotels were opened, 
detailed special maps and guide-books for climbers only 
appeared in rapid succession ; everything was made more con- 
venient for the new generation, who, however, found that 
little more was left to them in search of novelty than the 
discovery of 'new routes' and of 'inaccessible' pinnacles which 
received names only after they had been vanquished. Among 
the more prominent climbers of the post-1865 period a few may 
be here commemorated, keeping to our rule that only those are 
spoken of who are now at rest. Charles Edward Mathews 
(1834-1905), younger brother of William Mathews, began his 
Alpine career indeed before 1857, and was one of the founders 
of the Alpine Club. But his best climbs were made after 1865, 
while his one book, the Annals of Mont Blanc, did not appear 
till 1898. Another devoted lover of the Mont Blanc chain was 
Charles Mathews's close friend, Anthony Adams-Reilly (1836- 
1885), whose admirable maps of that chain (1865) and of the 
Southern Valleys of Monte Rosa (1868) are most remarkable, 
viewed as achievements of a single amateur, for, so far as 
topography goes, they bear well a comparison with the work of 
the great Government Surveys. Horace Walker (i 838-1 908), 
like C. E. Mathews, did much of his best Alpine work after 
1865, though his Alpine career began in 1854. He un- 
fortunately wrote but little about his experiences, though he 
was probably the senior Alpine climber on the roll when his 
activity came to an end in 1905. Another name cannot be passed 
over, although comparatively little has been published as to his 
climbs, which began before 1857 — the Swiss Eugene Ranihert 


(1830-1886), for the 5 vols, of his Alpes Suisses (1866-1875, 
new edition in 6 vols., 1887-9) contain but few personal im- 
pressions of his ascents. And his name cannot be separated 
from that of his pupil, so to speak, Emi/e /avelle (1847-1883), a 
Frenchman by birth, but a Swiss by adoption, whose Souvenirs 
d^un A /pim's^e appesLved in 1886. Of the younger or post-1870 
generation the following adventurers are associated with some 
magnificent, if too daring, feats of climbing. A. F. Mummery 
(1855-1895) devoted himself mainly to the Mont Blanc 
Aiguilles and to the Matterhorn, so far as the Alps were con- 
cerned, but he also climbed in the Caucasus and perished in the 
Himalaya — his one book. My Climbs in the Alps and Caucasus^ 
was issued in 1895, j^st before his untimely end. Then we 
have L-udwig Normait-Neruda (i 864-1 898), most cosmopolitan 
of mountaineers, for he boasted of having no fewer than seven 
mother-tongues. He was most fascinated by the Dolomites, 
which figured largely in the posthumous collection of his 
writings, published in 1899. It was during this later period 
from the early seventies onwards that the ' Austrian school of 
mountaineers' made its mark and startled many steady-going 
persons by the extraordinarily bold exploits of its members. Its 
chief was Ludivig Purtscheller (i 849-1 900), who climbed in 
every district of the Alps, so that his list of high ascents is nearly, 
though not quite (so he personally assured us, after his last 
climb) equal in point of mere numbers to that of the present 
writer. His articles were collected after his death by his friends 
in a volume entitled Ueber Fels und Firn, that was given to the 
world in 1901, though his excellent guide for mountaineers in 
the Eastern Alps, the Hochtourist in den Ostalpeti (written by 
him in conjunction with Herr H. Hess), first appeared in 1894 
in 2 vols., and is now in its third edition (3 vols., 1903). 
Next to him comes Emil Zsigmondy (1861-1885), ^ho was 
mainly attracted by the Eastern Alps, in particular by the 
Dolomites, though he was killed on the Meije in the Dauphine 
Alps: his writings, too, were posthumously collected in 1889 
under the title of Im Hochgebirge, while it is sad to relate that 
his excellent booklet on the Dangers of the Alps was issued just 


before his tragical end. Junior to both, but a remarkable 
personality among the most daring climbers of his day, was 
Robert Hans Schmitt (1870-1899), who, in his short career, 
accomplished what had previously been considered as impos- 
sibilities in the Dolomites. 

Of Italian climbers who have passed away two deserve 
mention as most successful and persevering explorers of the 
Piedmontese Alps — Martino Baretti (i 843-1 905) and Luigi 
Vaccarone (i 849-1 903). Both published only articles as to their 
personal experiences and climbs. But the former issued many 
tracts on Alpine geology, while the latter (being an archivist 
by profession) paid much attention to the local mediaeval 
history of the Western Alps. He also put forth a most interesting 
monograph (188 1) on that strange tunnel pierced about 1480 
beneath the Col de la Traversette, near Monte Viso, a work 
of unequal value (1884) on the history of the Passes of the 
Western Alps, and a most useful Ust of First Ascents in the 
Western Alps (excluding however, the main Dauphine Alps), 
that reached a third edition in 1890. Much of Signor 
Vaccarone's practical knowledge of the Alps was incorporated 
in his admirable guide-book (executed with the aid of two 
friends), the Guida delle Alpi Occidentali (3 vols., 1889-1896), 
which, despite its general title, treats almost exclusively of the 
Italian slope of the Western Alps. 

Here it may be convenient to say what we have to say as 
to the numbers of the great national Alpine Clubs, premising 
that the English Club is the only one that requires a high 
climbing qualification for membership, the foreign societies being 
content with the expression of an interest (sometimes very 
Platonic) in the mountains. The Alpine Club increased from 
298 members in 1871 to 361 in 1875, 444 i^ 1881, 509 in 
1891, 611 in 1901, and 677 in 1908. The numbers of the chief 
foreign Clubs at the end of 1907 were approximately the follow- 
ing : the German and Austrian Alpine Club, about 78,500 ; the 
Swiss Alpine Club, about 9700 ; the Italian Alpine Club, about 
6500 ; and the French Alpine Club, about 5600. 

Let us now describe and appreciate the new developments 

> 1 


of mountaineering that have taken place in the last thirty years 
or so, that is, since the revival, though they did not follow it 

One of the first points that strikes an old stager like the 
present writer is the rapid decline of the habit of making long 
journeys in the High Alps, so as to include in the same 
season a visit to several districts. This involved crossing many 
passes, peaks being climbed on the way or during a short stay 
at some favourite Alpine resort. But nowadays, though there 
has very recently been a slight revival in this respect, most 
mountaineers choose some ' centre ' for their season's work, 
settle down there, and explore the high peaks in the im- 
mediate neighbourhood, carefully avoiding passes as far as 
may be possible. It is obvious that such a plan has great 
conveniences — one gets good rooms at the selected hotel ; 
one is comfortably installed for some time with plenty of 
luggage; one enjoys the society of a set of congenial 
spirits, who almost form a coterie; one has not, save rarely, 
to sleep away from one's temporary home. But hotels well 
situated for such a manner of spending one's holiday are not 
too numerous, looked at solely as starting-points for high 
climbs. Stopping, too, in one place tends to narrow a man's 
interests, especially if he goes back again and again to the one 
chosen spot, for though he may know it in great detail, he 
loses the benefits of change of surroundings, not to say of 
atmosphere. Such a 'centrist' reminds one of the man who 
should fix himself in Florence or in Rome, and then plume 
himself on his knowledge of Italy. The Alps are wide, and 
each resort has its own particular charms, as well as draw- 
backs. It seems a pity not to give to places other than 
one's favourite haunt some little chance, even if one's wander- 
ings confirm the belief that the chosen spot excels all others. 
At any rate, a wanderer has seen the ' world,' and knows more 
than his own village. The fashion of ' traversing ' peaks, 
that is, going up one side and down the other, accounts in 
part for the disfavour into which passes (except where they 
offer special difficulties or dangers) have fallen. Yet the 


crossing of a great pass is most interesting. The scenery 
shifts from hour to hour, and that breaks, at least in part, the 
monotony of tramping over long snow-fields. One gets a far 
better idea of the topography of a region than one can obtain 
by an hour's stay even on the most admirably situated summit ; 
one feels that a real journey has been made from one place to 
another, and not merely a day's excursion from home and 
back. The present writer has tried both ' wandering ' and 
' centre-dwelling,' and has no hesitation in preferring the 
former, though occasionally a halt of a few days at a centre 
forms an agreeable interlude and a rest from perpetual journey- 
ing. However, tastes will always differ on this point. Here 
we have only wished to lay stress on the certain fact that the 
older climbers ' wandered,' while their younger successors settle 
down at 'centres.' Yet, as hinted above, there are not wanting 
signs that a few of the climbers of to-day have rediscovered 
the delights of 'wandering,' and the fact that the difficulties 
apprehended as to luggage and language are not so formidable 
as they appear to be at first sight. 

A second characteristic of modern mountaineering is the 
strong preference shown for rock peaks and the almost 
passionate dislike felt (after one has done one's ' duty peaks ') 
for snow mountains. To some men rock clambering is the 
one and only form of mountaineering. No matter about the 
height, or position of the peak, provided it offers a good 
scramble or an exciting climb. In some ways this tendency 
is a 'throwback' to the greased pole enthusiasts at whom 
Ruskin used to gibe. No one can maintain that the ascent 
of a difficult snow peak is not quite as great a tax on a man's 
energy and nerve as that of a rock needle. But on a rock 
peak it is clear that certain difficulties of a snow ascent {e.g. 
crevasses, step-cutting, etc.) are avoided, though rocks have 
dangers as well as fascinations, peculiarly their own. The 
amusing point is that rock men now look down disdainfully 
on the few snow men who still venture to hold up their heads. 
With them it is not a question of preference, but of exclusion. 
No one, they urge, can be considered a mountaineer, unless he 




is a rock climber, pure and simple. From this point of view, 
the scaling of the smallest rock tower is as enjoyable as is that 
of the highest rock needle — all depends on the difficulties 
encountered en route. This explains why of recent years so 
much attention has been paid to the Dolomites in the Alps 
and to the rock pinnacles around the English Lakes. Granting, 
for the sake of argument, that the training for pure rock 
climbing can be as well obtained in either region as in the 
snowy Alps, the undoubted fact remains that what at once 
distinguishes the Alps from these ranges is the fact that the 
Alps are permanently snow-covered, that they possess glaciers, 
and ice slopes, and the like. Hence nothing can possibly take 
their place, and the mere rock climber deprives himself of at 
least half the training of the all-round mountaineer. Of course, 
a man may in general prefer rock to snow. That one can under- 
stand, and that depends on his personal qualifications, for these 
vary with the character of the climb. But in making the above 
remarks we have been rather thinking of the man who only 
climbs rocks and scoffs at snow, or, if compelled for his sins 
to ascend a snow peak or to cross a snow pass, vents his dis- 
satisfaction by complaining of ' that horrid snow grind ' ! 
Probably the younger generation of mountaineers are better 
rock climbers than were their predecessors, but it is as cer- 
tain, in the opinion of the present writer, that they are 
distinctly inferior, generally speaking, to the older race of 
mountaineers. They sought a route, if possible the best, though 
that is rarely discovered on the occasion of a first ascent, up a 
peak, while the newer generation looks deliberately for the most 
difficult route, and has no rooted objection to a certain amount 
of inevitable danger. But surely there is room for both types, 
though, as is usually the case with ' wobblers,' those who 
practise first one, then the other form of climbing, are regarded 
with contempt both by the snow and by the rock men. Just 
so the genuine ski man cannot stand the equally genuine 
tobogganer, while both jeer at the poor wretch who prefers 
his own feet to any form of artificial locomotion. 

Closely connected with this frantic devotion to rock climbing 


is the great shadow and blot on present-day mountaineering 
— guideless dimbing in the High Alps by incompetent persons. 
This, in the opinion of the present writer, who knows that he 
does not stand alone in holding very strong views on this 
matter, is the plague spot in Alpine matters at the present 
time. Notice that we do not condemn guideless mountaineer- 
ing in itself, but only when it is practised in the High Alps 
(that is, roughly, above the snow-line, or in the case of difficult 
ascents, without regard to the height of the peak) by incompetent 
perso7is (not by those, always a select number, who, with 
companions of the same stamp, are entitled to undertake 
first-class expeditions). It is quite true, and sadly true, that 
first-rate amateur clim.bers have perished in the Alps, for 
there, as in the case of hunting, yachting, shooting, dangers 
exist which cannot be avoided if the circumstances are favour- 
able for them, while a mishap, an ' accident ' in the strict sense 
of the term, is always possible — even the best athlete may 
break his neck by falling down stairs, or slipping on a pavement, 
or be run over by a railway train. 

Now guideless climbing by competent men is no very new 
thing. We have mentioned above the splendid feats of Messrs 
Hudson and Kennedy's party on Mont Blanc as far back as 
1855, while in 1870 Mr. Girdlestone devoted a whole book to the 
subject, illustrating it by the thrilling recital of his own exciting 
experiences between 1864 and 1869. Still later, the first guide- 
less ascent of the Matterhorn, which took place in 1876 (the 
present writer was at Zermatt that day) by Messrs. Cust, Cawood, 
and Colgrove, was a wholly justifiable expedition. The three 
members of the party had all considerable practical acquaintance 
with the High Alps ; they took every precaution as to choosing 
a day when weather, etc., were favourable ; they did not try to 
make a ' record ' in any respect, whether as to time or anything 
else. None of them had ever been up the peak before, so that 
all the more credit is due to the success that crowned their 
efforts. In 1878 Mr. Frederick Gardiner, and the brothers 
Charles and Lawrence Pilkington, decided to carry matters 
one step further, attacking peaks which had never been climbed 


previously, and as to which therefore no practical information 
could be obtained from printed sources. They succeeded 
admirably in their emprise. Hence in 1879 they startled 
the Alpine world by mounting the Meije (but thrice vanquished 
previously), an undoubtedly first-class rock peak, while in 1881 
they showed that they were many-sided by an ascent of the 
Jungfrau from the Wengern Alp, admittedly one of the severest 
and most trying ice climbs in the Alps. Like the party of 
1876, they waited till all was favourable for their enterprises, 
they took all possible precautions when on the way, they knew 
each other well and so could reckon confidently on each 
other in case of an emergency, and they had carefully 
studied their intended route beforehand so as to be quite clear 
on the subject. 

It is impossible, of course, to fix the precise date at which 
guideless climbing began to be abused. But no one can doubt 
that one of the first signs of the change in men's views was the 
tragic death of Emil Zsigmondy on the Meije in 1885. A 
few days previously, he and his friends had successfully 
accomplished the traverse of the ridge between the Grand Pic 
and the lower Central Summit. Flushed with victory, they 
attempted to force a new and still more difficult route up the 
south face, and it was on this attempt that the misfortune 
occurred. All three climbers (two only took part in both 
climbs, the third man being different on each occasion) were 
first-class men, but there are limits even to human skill and 
human daring, and, in the opinion of the present writer, these 
were overstepped on that occasion. 

Without, however, entering upon the vain task of trying to 
fix precisely the year when the bad side of guideless climbing 
became prominent, let it suffice to say that for the last fifteen 
or twenty years it has been coming more and more into the 
foreground. Mountaineering has become popular, even 
fashionable, after its temporary eclipse. The vast increase 
in the number of published detailed descriptions of climbs, 
special guide-books, large scale maps, discussion in public 
prints has largely destroyed the veil of mystery that had long 


half hidden the great peaks. It is thought that rock peaks 
must offer safer climbing than snow peaks, with the probability 
of step-cutting, finding one's way through an ice-fall, etc. 
The expenses of travelling have been greatly reduced, and 
that allows many men to indulge in climbing who had not 
previously dreamt of this comparative luxury. There has been a 
distinct decline (far more marked on the Continent than in the 
case of English climbers) in the social status of those who tried 
high ascents, and this led to a different kind of men embarking 
upon difficult expeditions. Without much previous experience, 
trying to cut down expenses as far as possible, never having 
travelled with guides, ignorant of the etiquette that had grown 
up in Club huts, which they could use gratis or for a small 
fee, bound to make their climbs on certain days, as their 
holiday was very short, they are inclined to run risks that 
would have deterred the older generation ; for unless the 
weather was extremely bad, it is absolutely necessary for 
them to complete the climb in time to catch a train to bring 
them home at the appointed hour. Add to all these drawbacks 
the fact that many of the newer climbers (particularly in 
Switzerland and Austria) are occupied all the week in seden- 
tary pursuits (as clerks, students, workmen, etc.), and it will 
be admitted that an entirely new phase of mountaineering has 
been opened. Hence, beyond a doubt, the frightful increase 
in the number of accidents in the High Alps, due for the 
most part to sheer carelessness and to neglect to take the most 
obvious precautions, these defects being in their turn the results 
of the relative inexperience and ignorance of the young fellows 
who at 07ice flew at the highest game, and often paid the penalty 
of their foolishness. 

Every climber ought to know, that on a high ascent much 
depends on the condition of the peak that very day. The 
Matterhorn can be a very easy ascent, but it can also be a very 
terrible undertaking. Mont Blanc by the ordinary route from 
Chamonix is a walk under favourable circumstances, but at times 
it can beat the Matterhorn hollow as to danger and difficulty. The 
Wetterhorn often changes from day to day, so that a party may 


scamper up it one day, and, next day, the ascent may offer very 
considerable difficulties, and still greater dangers. Hence the 
idea that every peak can be classified irrevocably as ' very diffi- 
cult,' ' difficult,' or ' easy,' is utterly absurd. The early guideless 
climbers learnt this truth while they climbed with guides, and, 
by watching their professional companions, could store up many 
a useful hint (quite apart from any question of actual path- 
finding) that was to be of service to them later on. But the 
newer climbers, having never travelled with guides, lacked this 
useful knowledge. Having heard that a certain peak was easy, 
they held that it was always easy, and so could be attacked 
safely. No or little consideration was paid to weather conditions, 
ice conditions, snow conditions, rock conditions, or even to the 
bodily condition of the climbers the day of their ascent. All 
those who have climbed for a time know how one's body varies 
in condition, often from day to day, and the extreme advantage 
that a man who has trained himself that summer has over 
another, perhaps in every way physically stronger, who has 
come straight from his desk or his office, But the young 
fellows we are thinking of have often only the Sunday free, 
perhaps also a few hours on Saturday afternoon, but must be at 
their post on the Monday morning, or it will know them no more. 
Hence in summer one now regularly reads in the Monday 
or Tuesday paper of the deaths that have occurred on the 
mountains (by no means always on the high mountains) on the 
preceding Sunday. Yearly the death toll is greater, and though, 
as we pointed out above, there must always, in all pastimes, be 
pure ' accidents ' which can be classed as inevitable, yet it must 
be allowed that many of these Sunday accidents might very well 
be avoided, with a little more care, a little more experience, a 
little less rashness, a Uttle more thought for relatives, friends, 
and even the outside world. 

It is but a step from being told that one is 'as good as a 
guide ' to the conclusion, why then take guides ? And here, in 
the opinion of the present writer, the Swiss Alpine Club has, 
with the best intentions, committed a grave mistake (no other 
Alpine Club seems to have adopted the system). Since 1900 


it permits amateurs (being members of the club) to sit for the 
same guides' examinations as young professionals, and grants 
to them, on passing, a certificate or 'Diploma,' signed by the 
Central Committee, but not recognised by the Cantonal Govern- 
ment. Professionals receive, on the result of the same examina- 
tion, a ' Patent ' or ' Ucence ' from their Cantonal Government. 
The result frequently (of course by no m.eans always) is that the 
amateur, holding such a diploma, is not unnaturally tempted 
to dispense with professional assistance, and not seldom comes 
to great grief. The plan tickles the innocent vanity of a few 
amateurs, but may well result in disaster, for it is the fixed 
opinion of the present writer that it is impossible, save in a few 
most exceptional cases (which prove the rule), that an amateur 
can be as good and capable all round as a professional glacier 
guide — mark the words 'all round,' for in certain respects the 
amateur may surpass the professional, though falling below him 
in other points, so that we must strike an average if we desire 
to arrive at general conclusions. 

Let us admit to the full the very real advantages that guide- 
less climbing does possess. It without doubt develops the 
sense of self-reliance, of independence, of true saving of money, 
of pure enjoyment with a few congenial companions, of pleasure 
in tracking out one's own way, of feeling perfectly free to go 
where one will. Yet, on the other side, we have the indisputable 
fact that amateurs cannot possibly have had the same continuous 
bodily training as professionals, and this not merely because the 
amateur spends a few weeks at the most in the mountains where 
the professional spends his entire life. Quite apart from any 
question of path-finding in fine weather (and the amateur will 
almost always be better able to read a map or use a compass than 
a professional guide), how can an amateur decide in the twinkling 
of an eye as to the state of the snow, how can he possess the 
inherited and accumulated weather wisdom of a guide, how can 
he hope to vie with a professional in such tiring work as step- 
cutting, carrying weights, and so on ? A guide, too, used to such 
surprises in his ordinary life, will be less demoralised than an 
amateur if a sudden mist comes on, or if the party be overtaken 


by bad weather, or loses its way on trackless snow-fields or in 
the mazes of a crevassed glacier. Amateurs, of course, vary, just 
as much as do guides. But in these pages we are thinking of 
really capable amateurs and good glacier guides. It is not 
hard to find an amateur who under ordinary circumstances can 
find his way up a well-known peak in fine weather nearly if not 
quite as well as a guide. But the comparison is neither fair 
nor complete unless we take into account bad weather, and 
labour that makes a heavy demand on bodily strength, and such 
like. In that case the superiority of the professional is very well 
marked. One of the earUest and most successful of guideless 
English climbers has often assured the present writer that two 
of the greatest disadvantages of amateurs are, first, the tendency 
to relax attention when the chief difficulties are over {e.g. cross- 
ing an apparently uncrevassed glacier) and the excitement is 
past ; and, secondly, the great tax on the physical energies of an 
amateur of having to carry provisions, however they may be 
reduced in bulk, whereas the guide is used to weight-carrying 
from his boyhood. Our friend, too, who has travelled with some 
of the best guides in the Alps, allowed to us unreservedly that, 
though he and his friends could carry through a difficult climb 
quite as well as many guides, they could not do so with the 
professional finish and neatness that comes from a lifelong 
training. It is simply the old question of the superiority, as a 
general rule, of professionals or specialists in any department 
over amateurs. Every general statement, of course, has its 
exceptions, but these are so few in number that they impress 
one only by their rarity and scarcity. 

There are several other points which are often overlooked 
when the merits of guideless mountaineering are discussed. As 
is well known, the leading guide of a party is responsible before 
the law for the safety of his party, and may be punished severely 
if he has neglected his duties. But guideless climbers are 
under no legal responsibility towards one another. Again, it is 
frequently urged that the tariff of fees for guides is absurdly 
high. Now it is true that the fees at first sight do seem to be 
high. But it must be borne in mind that they refer to travellers 


in general, not only to skilled climbers. Hence the amount 
that would be adequate in the case of a traveller who has to 
be helped very much would be absurd in the case of a more 
practised climber, for the former not merely gives much more 
work to his guide, but is also a source of greater danger by 
reason of his inexperience. Besides, every one knows that, as a 
rule, a good climber can make a special arrangement with a 
guide. In all his thirty-four years of climbing the present 
writer has very rarely paid the full tariff price for any high 
expedition. Of course, if a guide is taken only for one or two 
climbs, the fees will not be reduced proportionately as if he were 
engaged for several weeks. After all, guiding is a profession, 
or, more strictly, a ' by-profession,' exercised only in summer 
(rarely in winter or at other times), and is the guide's means of 
livelihood by which he mainly supports his family, unless he 
has some other trade at which to work when not acting as guide. 
He cannot, therefore, be expected to face unnecessary dangers 
and perils, at the bidding of his employer for the time, who, on 
his side, may not be cumbered by family cares and expenses. It 
therefore seems very hard on a guide to accuse him of cowardice 
or want of enterprise, for, after all said and done, mountaineering 
is a pastime, not a gamble for one's life, and the limits of pru- 
dence are well known, though not always observed. 

A guideless climber, too, does not always remember that the 
more guideless mountaineering spreads, the worse it is for the 
professional guides, who are a picked lot of men, and exercise t 
an honourable calling. By all means let the few really com- ; 
petent amateurs, who can never be a very numerous body, 
amuse themselves by emulating their professional rivals. But 
let them beware of encouraging by their words or by their 
writings incompetent men to follow their example. TJiere is the 
great drawback of guideless mountaineering from the point of 
view of the general public. Let the guideless climbers also be 
more modest than is sometimes the case, and above all let them 
refrain from throwing mud or casting contempt on professional 
guides, whose bread they are taking out of their mouths, but 
whom they expect to call in as rescuers should any mishap occur 


to a guideless party. Quite recently an amateur climber per- 
mitted himself to direct a most fiery attack against Swiss guides 
in general. But in his paper he admitted that he had not made a 
dozen climbs with guides, and then in most cases only with the 
very best men, so that, as his critics at once pointed out, these 
facts at once put him out of court when he sat in judgment 
on average glacier guides. Another writer boasts loudly that 
he and his friends, without guides, completed the exploration of 
a certain district in the Alps. But when, on inquiry, it turns out 
that this vaunt really refers to the scaling of a number of not 
very high and rather unimportant rocky points, which had been 
purposely disdained by previous explorers as beneath their 
attention, one gets some idea of the childlike fashion in which 
some guideless climbers blow their own trumpet. 

Few English readers save those who devote special attention 
to Alpine matters have any idea to what extremes the pursuit 
of guideless mountaineering has actually been carried in the 
Alps. A few examples, all dating from the last few years, may 
help to open their eyes. In 1903 a party of eight young men 
set out from Geneva (bearing with them, it is said, a ham 
and several loaves of bread as provisions) to ascend Mont 
Blanc. They seem to have been insufficiently equipped and 
to have had little or no experience in climbing. By a sort of 
miracle seven of them, though after very many hours' toil, really 
did attain the hut on the Aiguille du GoAter. But a great storm 
came upon them, they were struck by lightning, and were only 
rescued, alive though wounded, several having remained sense- 
less for hours, by the heroic efforts of a party of guides. The 
storm was really a mere unfortunate detail, for the party were 
in nowise fitted for the climb, even in the finest weather. In 
1905 two young Swiss tradesmen (one holding the ' Diploma' of 
the Swiss Alpine Club, as amateur guide, having gained it, so 
it is stated, with great distinction) attempted the Jungfrau from 
the Wengern Alp. They both perished on the way, how exactly 
is not known, as only one body was found. A few days before 
the same really difficult climb had been tried by two young 
apprentices (one a blacksmith, the other a joiner) resident in 


Grindelwald. Both perished, another proof, if one was wanted, 
that mere bodily strength and vigour are not sufficient equip- 
ment for a high mountain ascent. In the autumn of 1906 it 
was discovered that nothing had been heard of two young 
Germans, who, alone, had started for the ascent of the Jung- 
frau from the Roththal two months before. A strong search- 
party from Lauterbrunnen was organised, which could discover 
no trace of the two travellers, but did discover, very high 
up, the body of a man, who turned out to be a baker from 
Beckenried, who had attempted this expedition alone, armed 
with an alpenstock. A short time ago a Swiss friend told the 
present writer that, while walking about the Lower Eismeer at 
Grindelwald, he spied two men working up the ice-fall (where 
no one goes) that separates it from the Upper Eismeer. After 
much shouting the two men were induced to return. They 
proved to be two wandering apprentices, who were armed only 
with an umbrella and a walking-stick respectively, and were 
trying to make their way cheaply from Bern to the Vallais. 
They stated that their intention was to climb the Jungfrau 
(they were proceeding in quite a wrong direction), and, arrived 
there, to take the railway (of course not yet constructed) down 
on the other side. This case, like those of the baker and the 
two Grindelwald apprentices, are cited here to show how much 
harm guideless mountaineering can do by inducing unfit persons 
to undertake climbs far beyond their capacity. One cannot, of 
course, fix the blame on any one guideless party, but the way 
in which some of the members of such parties brag about the 
absurd easiness of this and that climb comes to the ears of 
other ambitious young men, and results in disastrous conse- 

Thus, as we started by remarking, guideless mountaineering 
in the High Alps by incompetent perso7is is the black cloud on 
the good cause at present. Unless this new current is forcibly 
checked and diverted, much lasting harm will be done, and 
mountaineering will be looked upon askance as was the case 
for years after 1865. It is the duty of competent guideless 
climbers (and such are to be found) to warn weaker men 


that while such a climb has great charms, it should not be 
undertaken unless under favourable circumstances and by more 
or less trained mountaineers. Otherwise the ambitious but 
inexperienced novices will have to pay the natural penalty. 

Forty odd years ago Leslie Stephen (one of the crack climbers 
of his day) speaking officially as President of the Alpine Club, 
and at a date previous to the Matterhorn accident of 1865, made 
the following most wise remarks, the flavour of which has only 
become more mellow with time, so that we commend them 
heartily to the best attention of our readers : — 

' In my opinion, if ever it becomes fashionable for English 
travellers to attack the High Alps without guides and without due 
experience, the era of bad accidents will begin. . . . According 
to my experience, no traveller that I have ever seen would be 
worthy to be ranked as even a second-rate guide. The difference 
between professionals and amateurs, generally pretty well marked, 
is wider in this than in almost any sport, and for the simple 
reason that there is a greater difference in experience. The 
guide has been practising during his whole life, the amateur 
during a few vacations, of which the first was probably after the 
time at which athletic sports are best learnt.' 



IN the early days of January, 1129, a host of pilgrims was 
waiting anxiously at the S. foot of the Great St. Bernard, 
till the inclement weather allowed them to cross the pass in 
the direction of their homes : it is the abbat of St. Trond, 
near Liege, who tells us the sad tale. Avalanches poured 
down from above, the snow blew into great drifts, some pilgrims 
who ventured to start were suffocated. Their companions, 
crowded together in the small village of St. Rhemy, were in deep 
despair. Suddenly some local men offered to go on ahead 
in order to beat down a path, so that the pilgrims with their 
horses might follow in their steps. This offer, and the price 
demanded, were gladly accepted, and the valiant men set forth, 
though a fresh avalanche soon overwhelmed them, killing some, 
maiming others, and so putting an end to the expedition. 
For us in this chapter the interest lies in the description of 
these men, the first Alpine guides of whom a record has come 
down to us. We are told that they wrapped their heads in 
felt as a protection against the cold, drew coarse mittens over 
their hands, pulled on their high boots, of which the soles were 
furnished with sharp iron spikes to prevent them from slipping 
on the ice, and carried in their hands long poles wherewith to 
sound for the path through the deep snow. The name given 
to them is ' marones,' a word of uncertain derivation, that was 
specially applied to the guides on the Great St. Bernard (there 
it still survives in the form of ' maronnier,' the chief of the 
men who sally forth to rescue passing travellers in winter) and 
the Mont Cenis, though it is occasionally used with regard to 



other Alpine passes. They were equipped with all sorts of 
articles such as are still more or less used in making high climbs, 
though of course in this passage there is no reference to such 
adventurous feats. ' Crampons ' or ' Steigeisen,' a sort of second 
sole of iron or steel, furnished with sharp spikes (in 1129 the 
iron spikes appear to have been fastened direct to the boot 
soles) and placed under the leather sole of the boot, being 
attached to the foot by straps, are often mentioned by later 
writers, while both the lord of Villamont in 1588 on the 
Rochemelon, and Arnod on the Col du Geant in 1689, speak 
also of iron claws to be attached to the hands. Arnod, too, 
had ' hachons ' with him, a sort of elementary ice-axe, no doubt, 
while spectacles to protect the eyes from the glare of the sun 
on snow are mentioned by Jacques Le Saige in 15 18, and by 
Josias Simler in 1574. The last-named writer also speaks of 
the use of the rope and of raquettes or snow-shoes, as well as 
of the benefits of thick paper or parchment as a means of pro- 
tecting the body against piercing cold. We have seen above 
that in 1492 Antoine de Ville employed ladders wherewith to 
scale the Mont Aiguille. 

But of course in early days all these implements were only 
used in the case of crossing in winter passes which in summer 
are quite easy, and accessible to mules or horses. On the 
Mont Cenis the ' marons ' were particularly skilled in bringing 
down travellers from the pass to Lanslebourg on a sort of 
toboggan or wooden sledge, this fashion of luging being called 
' glisser a la ramasse.' They were capable, however, of better 
things, as a Breton nobleman, the Seigneur de Villamont, tells us 
in his amusing account of his ascent of the Rochemelon in 1588. 
His two ' marons ' carried the provisions, they took care of their 
employer when he became fatigued and half frozen with cold, 
gave him wine to drink, tied crampons and iron claws to his feet 
and hands, and apparently pushed him up by placing their 
arms under his shoulders. Thanks mainly to them he reached 
the summit of his peak, and rejoiced much in the wonderful 
things he saw thence, so that 'he forgot all his past labours 
and his soul was filled with an incredible joy.' Later, on his 


return to France, Villamont tobogganed down the other slope 
of the Mont Cenis, perhaps looked after by the same two men 
or 'marons.' 

These two men of 1588 are the first real Alpine guides 
who took, as far as we know, a traveller up a high peak, for 
the companions of Antoine de Ville on the Mont Aiguille in 
1492 were rather labourers charged to hew a way to the top 
and to set up ladders, than guides properly so called. 

Many years later we find that the men who acted as guides 
on high ascents were generally chamois hunters, who feared 
the upper regions less than other men. This was the case in 
the ascents of the Scesaplana in 1742, of the Buet in 1770, and 
of the Mont Velan in 1779, and in many later cases. On 
other occasions we hear only of bold peasants, no hint 
being given as to their profession, or again of shepherds 
or of smugglers, who were very useful when the peak rose on 
or near a frontier. These were the classes from which the 
early mountain guides were taken. We should add crystal- 
hunters in the case of the Chamonix men, and also the men 
employed by Government map surveyors, who were naturally 
chosen for their local knowledge, and could not fail to become 
the guides of the future. 

Of course the earliest professional guides are found at 
Chamonix, for their powers found an opportunity for display 
in the course of the attempts on and early ascents of Mont 
Blanc. So we find in the first lists of Chamonix guides, 
published before the end of the eighteenth century, the still 
familiar names of Balmat, Cachat, Couttet, Tournier, Charlet, 
Devouassoud, and so on. The Chamonix guides, too, were 
the first to be organised into a special association, in 1821 
or 1823 (the dates given vary). In 18 13 one of M. Maynard's 
guides on the occasion of the first ascent of the Zermatt 
Breithorn was a Couttet, and in 1830 Lord Minto, on the same 
climb, had no fewer than nine Chamonix guides with him. The 
Chamonix men long kept the pre-eminence they had won so 
early, the latest to wander far from their native mountains, 
as well as among them, being Auguste Balmat (1808-1862), 

2: .Vi 

O ■: 





, I 



the guide and friend of Forbes and Mr. Wills ; the brothers 
Jean Baptiste Croz (1828-1905) and Michel Croz (1830- 
1865), the latter a victim of the great Matterhorn accident; 
and Frangois Devouassoud (1831-1905), the life-long guide 
of Mr. Douglas Freshfield, and the charming companion of the 
present writer in 1867. 

The guides on the early ascents of the Gross Glockner were 
carpenters by trade, because they had to set up a cross on the top. 
The Meyers on the Jungfrau and Finsteraarhorn in 18 11- 12 had 
two Vallais chamois hunters, Joseph Bortis and Alois Volker (the 
first known Vallais guides), as well as a Guttannen man, Arnold 
Abbiihl, who later made himself a considerable name, and had 
been picked up as the party passed his native village. In 181 2 
the fourth man, Kaspar Huber, was in all probability a servant 
at the Grimsel Hospice, as Abbiihl certainly was in 1828, when 
he accompanied Hugi. The Hospice later became quite a nest 
of good glacier guides, for the landlord was obliged to keep 
many servants there (mostly, of course, from Meiringen, far 
down the same valley of Hasle), and naturally they would 
accompany to the glaciers any travellers who desired to visit 
them. This Hasle school was particularly strong in the years 
1840 to 1845. These men then came to the front as the guides 
of Desor and his companions in the ranges round their head- 
quarters on the Unteraar glacier. The boldest of them all was 
Melchior Bannholzer, who with J. Jaun (also a Meiringen man) 
vanquished (1844) for the first time both the Hasle Jungfrau and 
the Rosenhorn peaks of the Wetterhorner. Jakob Leuthold 
(who died quite young in 1843), Johann Wahren, and several 
Abplanalps were also good Hasle guides of the time, while the 
still surviving Melchior Anderegg (b. 1828), one of the most 
famous of all guides, started life (in 1855) as a servant at the 
Grimsel. Indeed, it is quite singular to notice how many great 
peaks of the Bernese Oberland were first conquered by Hasle 
and Vallais men. 

Yet there were early guides at Grindelwald and at Lauter- 
brunnen. The first Grindelwald guides we hear of are Peter 
Baumann (1800-1853) and Ulrich Wittwer, who took a German 


traveller in 1826 over what seems to be the Finsteraarjoch. 
Baumann was apparently a leader of men, for it was he who 
headed the six Grindelwald peasants (including Ulrich Wittwer, 
Hildebrand Burgener, Christian Baumann, Peter Moser, and 
Peter Roth) who climbed the Jungfrau from Grindelwald in 
1828. Most of these men later became professional guides. 
In the next generation at Grindelwald was Christian Bleuer, 
who, with Peter Baumann and Hildebrand Burgener, is 
mentioned in Murray from 1842 to 1865. He was with 
Mr. Blackwell in 1850-4, and did a certain amount of climbing 
in the early days. Later he seems to have organised parties, 
acting as director, but having younger men to do the work 
under him. Two of these under-studies became far more 
famous than himself — Peter Bohren (1822-1882), surnamed 
the 'Gletscherwolf'), and Christian Aimer (1826-1898), the 
best guide who ever lived, who climbed from before 185 1 till 
1897, never had but two accidents in his life, could boast 
the most brilliant conceivable list of new and difficult ascents, 
and yet died peacefully in his bed, surrounded by his family. 
The present writer counts it a great privilege to have been 
able to travel with Aimer for seventeen summers and three 
winters, and to be in the closest relations of friendship 
with his son and namesake, in whose house these lines are 

The Lauterbrunnen men come before the world as glacier 
guides first in that grand year 1828, in connection with Hugi, 
and Messrs. Brown and Slade's attempts on the Jungfrau from 
the Roththal : the familiar names of Lauener, Bischofif, and 
Gertsch occur then already. Some of the great Grindelwald 
men were summoned over by Hugi to help the local climbers. 
Most famous of all Lauterbrunnen guides was Ulrich Lauener 
(1821-1900), who was the leader on the first ascent (1855) of 
Monte Rosa, though it was so far away from his native valley. 
The Oberland guides were first organised in 1856, and so at a 
much later date than their Chamonix rivals. 

Guides elsewhere developed on the whole later, though 
J. Brantschen, of Zermatt, crossed the Schwarzberg Weissthor 


about 1825, and another Zermatt man, A. Damatter, was a senior 
guide in 1845, when Mr. John Ball consulted him. 

The Pontresina men were organised in 1861, and at later 
dates the men of other regions who desired to become profes- 
sional guides followed suit. But in the remoter and less visited 
Alpine districts guides in the proper sense did not exist till quite 
recently. As lately as 1876 the present writer engaged the best 
chamois hunter at St. Christophe, in the Dauphine Alps, as his 
local guide ; but, though he had already done one or two climbs 
with travellers, it was not till after his conquest of the Meije in 
1877 that Pierre Gaspard developed into a professional guide. 

We have used the term ' professional guide ' more than once 
above. It should always be borne in mind that it is meant to 
distinguish those who guide for their livelihood from amateur 
guides. Of course, guiding is not and cannot be a regular 
profession, for as a rule it is exercised only in summer, though 
of recent years the time for high climbs has been extended, 
while Alpine guides have been engaged to explore extra- 
European ranges. In the Alps, therefore, guiding is rather 
a ' by-profession ' than a regular profession. No guide, practi- 
cally speaking, is a guide and nothing else. That is the way 
he spends part of his time, and earns most money. But save 
in the rarest cases, guiding occupies him during only two or three 
months of the year. Hence for the other nine months the 
guides must do something, for it is a totally erroneous belief 
that, save in summer, guides are entirely idle. It would be 
truer to say that summer is their festival time, when they are 
better fed, better lodged, better clothed than at other times 
of the year, while, as against the undoubted dangers of their 
calling, there are to be set certain cash advantages. All Alpine 
guides are peasant proprietors in the first place. Hence during 
the nine months or so when they are not guiding, they are 
occupied with cultivating their land, taking care of their cattle, 
felling wood for fuel, etc. In early summer the cows go up to 
the high pastures, so that their owners are free, while hay is largely 
made after the summer-climbing season is over. Many guides, 
too, follow regular trades — some are carpenters, or blacksmiths, 


or butchers, or keep small shops, or hire themselves out, in the 
case of the poorer men, as day-labourers, haymakers, etc. Others 
occupy official posts in their native valleys — so at Grindelwald 
both the President of the Commune and its treasurer are actually 
glacier guides. Thus it is not in accordance with facts to think 
of the guides as forming a distinct class, sharply cut off from 
other men of the valley, and exclusively devoted to one calling. 
Guiding is simply the summer occupation of a certain number 
of picked men in each Alpine valley. As cash circulates little 
among Alpine peasants, save in the case of those who have to do 
with foreign visitors, the guides are generally among the well-to-do 
men in their respective districts. But like their betters, they 
prefer not to be thought too well-to-do, in view of the taxes 
that may be imposed upon them. Some years ago, in a certain 
Alpine valley that shall be nameless, the local authorities were 
at their wits' end to raise some more money for public purposes. 
A shrewd member of the ruling body conceived the ingenious 
idea of levying an extra income-tax on the guides of the region. 
But as the guides in that valley are numerous, and so possess 
considerable voting power, it was decided to levy this new tax 
on certain guides only, selected because it was supposed that 
they earned more than their fellows. Twelve men were picked 
out, and a demand note was served on each to the effect that 
he must declare what he expected to earn during the coming 
summer, and would be taxed on the amount he stated. The 
twelve held a meeting at once — it lasted a whole night — protest- 
ing against this unequal treatment, and pointing out (what was 
obvious) that it was impossible to estimate what their earnings 
might be for the next summer, as they could not possibly tell be- 
forehand what the weather conditions might be like. They finally 
decided to return the demand notes not filled up, without any 
statement or estimate of their possible professional income. But 
this ingenious device of getting round such an obnoxious measure 
was baflfled by the still more crafty communal authorities. They 
resolved to tax each of the twelve on an estimated guide's income 
of looo frcs. Every man of the twelve paid without demur the 
annual tax of eight frcs., for, as one of them explained to the 


present writer, 'the authorities might very well tax us on a 
higher amount (and of course our earnings are much more 
than 1000 frcs. a year), so we think it better to pay and have 
done with it, rather than run the risk of being assessed at a 
higher sum.' Since then peace has reigned in the valley, and 
both sides are quite satisfied with the result. 

Another misapprehension as to guides should be carefully 
guarded against. Enthusiastic writers, who sometimes know less 
than they imagine, are inclined to regard as future guides all 
the boys they see playing about an Alpine village. As a matter 
of fact, perhaps one in ten of any such boys becomes a guide, at 
any rate a glacier guide. That class does not include, far from 
it, all the able-bodied young men of a given valley, but merely 
a small proportion of them. The exact proportion depends on 
many factors, but is never very large, for a glacier guide (and in 
these pages we deal only with such) must possess certain quali- 
ties that are by no means found in the case of all his comrades, 
guides or non-guides. An instance, based on accurate figures will 
show what the real facts are. At the end of 1906, in the valley 
of Grindehvald, there were about eighty-three licensed guides 
(glacierguides or ordinary guides) out of a male population of about 
596 over 20 years of age, below which no man can be admitted 
as a guide. Now notice that these 83 men were by no means 
all glacier guides — shall we say that only perhaps 30 or 40 of 
them had ever ascended the Wetterhorn or crossed the Strahl- 
egg? — while some had practically retired through age, or in- 
firmity, though unwilling to acknowledge the fact. Of these 596 
men about 330 were over the age of 50, while 109 were between 
20 and 32, 88 between 32 and 44, and 69 between 44 and 50 — 
in all, 266 below 50 to 330 over 50. Naturally most guides are 
below 50, though there are exceptions which will occur to any 
one's mind. 

Let us assume then as proved that only a comparatively small 
number of the young men in any Alpine valley do become glacier 
guides (of course the case is different as to the early guides, who 
became such because they were chamois hunters, and acted as 
guides before they received a licence). We are thus naturally 


led to the question what is it that decides a young fellow to 
become a mountain guide rather than a tradesman, an artisan, 
a hotel servant, a waiter, a driver, a stableman, a cow-herd, or 
a cheesemaker, all callings that are open to an Alpine youth, 
and involve, as a rule, less perils than does that of a glacier 
guide ? 

Till the age of eighteen or twenty the boys and youths pass very 
much the same kind of lives, whatever is to be their future calling. 
As early as the age of three or four an Alpine boy is well used to 
managing his small sledge down steep snow slopes in winter, even 
if it be only around his father's house. They thus learn much 
unconsciously as to the varying character of the snow at different 
times, and, though summer snow is not quite the same as winter 
snow, it is snow of a kind. They acquire, too, habits of dexterity 
as to their legs, which may easily be injured if they do not 
manage them properly, as well as of watchfulness as to critical 
bits of the steep snow slope down which they love to career so 
madly. It is surprising to find what small boys are taken in 
winter by their fathers, or uncles, or elder brothers, or wander 
off with chosen comrades, towards the high pastures that stretch 
above their native village. For several winters running the 
present writer met a small boy (first when he was only five years 
old) climbing vrith his father up heavy snow slopes for some 
2000 feet above his home, and then, in the afternoon, returning 
merry and untired, on his sledge, or else dragging behind him a 
young sapling for two hours or so. It is all play to the boys, 
and so is delightful, while naturally the father is imitated, some- 
times quite comically, at every stage. At the age of seven the 
boy goes to school, but of course he goes there, in winter, on his 
sledge. In the afternoon he is free, so that then he can toboggan, 
or run about, or carry up coffee to his father at work among the 
hills. Often, on a holiday, a band of quite small boys will 
wander over hill and dale, or else make, with the entire school, 
or its upper classes, a great excursion, say over the Wengern 
Alp. At school the boy is taught gymnastics of a simple kind, 
so that his small body gets well trained in many fashions. At 
the age of ten he will generally be set to chop wood for the use 


of his father's household. Later, he will be sent out to look 
after the sheep or goats, or to lead them up to the high pastures, 
or to bring them down, the more valuable cows being under the 
charge of the older men. As they advance in years these boys 
hear about the ascents of the high peaks around their valley* 
for few have not some relative who is not concerned in some 
way with that source of money-getting. Very possibly they 
will offer their services as path-finders on small excursions to 
foreign travellers, for the summer is the school vacation, and so 
they are free, save when wanted to do jobs at home. But it is 
very rare for an Alpine boy (however strange it may seem to be 
at first sight) to set foot on a glacier before he is twelve or four- 
teen years of age. A lad aged twelve and a half years once made, 
with his father, his uncle, and the writer, the ascent of one of the 
peaks of the Wetterhorn, and was regarded with feelings of wild 
envy by his school comrades. His father had been up the 
Schreckhorn at the age of fourteen, and he was thought to be a 
sort of infant prodigy. Schooling ends by sixteen. But the youth 
begins to work (if he has not already begun to work) as a 
labourer on his father's homestead, or to help his father bring 
down hay in winter from distant barns, or to fell and then trans- 
port the trees felled in autumn for use as fuel. Now there are 
few forms of training more effectual and useful for a future guide 
than bringing down heavy logs of wood on a big sledge in 
winter. It is a very great strain on the legs ; it requires con- 
siderable nerve and dexterity, so that bodily strength is by no 
means all that is required ; it involves danger of death or mutila- 
tion if the sledge is allowed to gain too great momentum, and 
so pass over the body of the man sitting in front of it — every 
winter there are accidents, arising from some mistake as to 
managing these heavy sledges. Thus a lad must have some 
presence of mind and be ready to alter his tactics as the heavy 
weight behind him sways from side to side, or threatens to over- 
whelm him. 

Now, as we have said above, the training we have described 
is much the same for all the healthy boys of an Alpine valley till 
they have left school. Then comes the question of the future 


career of each. Some naturally drift to one or other form of 
industry, wherein their special personal tastes or likings or 
qualifications will be of use to them. Much, too, depends, as 
always in similar cases, on the father's occupation, for his boys 
naturally incline towards the industry with which they have been 
most familiar from their youth up. Some decide to become 
guides, pass a rather easy literary and practical examination, and 
obtain their certificates as full-fiedged guides, though this cannot 
happen before they are twenty years of age and possess the neces- 
sary bodily qualifications. It is odd, however, to find some men 
acting as glacier guides who yet have been refused, at the same 
age of twenty, as recruits for the Swiss army. A very slight 
physical defect ensures rejection (fifty to fifty-five per cent, of 
the young fellows available are refused annually), and yet that 
man may become an excellent guide. Several cases of this kind 
are well known to the present writer. 

But all guides are not glacier guides. In fact, it is only 
the minority of guides who even desire to become glacier guides. 
The writer has never forgotten his very earliest experience on 
this point. On his first walks in the Alps, he had been taken 
round by a pleasant-spoken young fellow, who showed him all 
the sights of the valley and was an agreeable companion. But 
when the writer, fired by the desire of attempting a glacier 
expedition, albeit only the passage of the Strahlegg, intimated 
his intention to this young man, the ' guide ' declined politely but 
firmly, on the ground that he never undertook such dangerous 
expeditions ! Glacier guides then form a set apart, and are thus 
picked men. 

Now even if a newly fledged young guide desires to enter this 
select class, it is not always easy for him to do so. He may 
have more than the requisite physical strength, quite sufificient 
mental outfit, a laudable ambition to do great things. But he 
is given no chance of attaining his object and falls back into 
the common ruck. Two circumstances that may fairly be called 
accidental have a decisive influence on the early or future career 
of an ambitious young guide. One is the question whether he 
belongs to an ' hereditary guide family ' (for we are not thinking 


of the very early guides, but of the present generation, their 
descendants), or has any 'guide connections,' such as relations 
with hotel porters, who have the opportunity of recommending 
one or another guide. If our young fellow has no such advan- 
tages, his first steps will be very laborious and painful. One 
man, who certainly in his day would have been reckoned in any 
list of first-class guides, assured the present writer some years 
ago, that, having no such ' family connections,' he had had a very 
hard time at first, and, in order to learn his trade thoroughly 
and the way about, had acted as porter (though a fully licensed 
guide) for many long years. With him perseverance and 
patience won the day at last. It is, of course, but natural 
that fathers and uncles and elder brothers should prefer to 
take with them the younger members of their own families, 
and teach them (rather than outsiders) the tricks of the trade 
which they themselves had learnt in their day. Yet, while 
some outsiders do by constant and long-continued exertion 
manage to gain admittance to this charmed circle of glacier 
guides, other lads, who by birth belong to it, do not care to 
make use of their advantages and opportunities. Tastes differ 
here as elsewhere. 

The other accidental circumstance to which we alluded above 
is the question whether a young guide has the luck to get chosen 
as the constant companion of some active amateur climber. 
Quite apart from the prospect of a continuous engagement, 
rain or shine, and so of continuous wages, the prospect that such 
an engagement opens out to a young and ambitious guide may 
be very brilliant. Not merely do two such comrades get to 
know each other very thoroughly in storm and stress, as well as 
in peace and sunshine, but the sphere of action of the young 
guide is much widened. An amateur rarely, save for some 
special reason, cares to make the same climb more than once. 
Hence his own particular guide is transported from his native 
valley, sees many other mountain districts, and gains much more 
experience. Unless a local guide is taken (and even sometimes 
when one is taken), our young guide will be much thrown on his 
own resources : he has to climb mountains or cross passes that 


he has never seen before, his intelligence is stimulated by the 
absolute necessity of learning how to read maps, his ideas are 
enlarged by visits to lands where his own language or dialect is 
barely, if at all, understood, he learns to put up with the inevit- 
able inconveniences of travel, his responsibility becomes heavier. 
Of course, not every young man is quick or capable of availing 
himself of the advantages that may accrue to him from such a 
comradeship. But the present writer has two cases in his mind's 
eye, in both of which the young fellow eagerly seized on the 
opportunity offered and did his best, most successfully, to profit 
by it. It is said that long engagements are no longer so common 
as of old. More 's the pity from the point of view both of the 
amateur and of the guide. Yet the great advantage of being able 
to count year after year on the same employer is well recognised 
by the guides themselves, who say sometimes, rather pitifully, or 
it may be with a spice of malice, of a colleague, ' Oh, he has no 
longer any Monsieur,' meaning that the man in question must 
be content with chance engagements, which depend much on 
the weather and on other accidents. 

Now among glacier or high-mountain guides there are men 
and men. Putting aside any accidental circumstances, the 
difference largely consists in a difference between one man 
and another. Whether the instincts of a first-class guide are 
natural or are acquired is rather an idle question, for acquired 
instincts, when the occasion arises to profit by them, are 
practically equivalent to natural instincts. Among the qualities 
that mark off a first-class guide from another guide are the gift 
of path-finding (especially of retracing a route previously taken 
in the opposite direction) ; the physical strength to undergo hard 
bodily labour, such as long-continued step-cutting ; the power of 
deciding, without hesitation, what is to be done in that exact 
state of the weather or of the snow ; the faculty of preserving his 
presence of mind if and when a crisis arises ; the strength of 
will, regardless of any possible consequences in the future to 
his professional reputation, though only among silly people, of 
insisting on retreat if he deems it desirable. In drawing out 
this list (which might be easily lengthened) the writer has con- 



Crete cases in his mind's eye. In his opinion, the best first- 
class guides ought to possess the qualities that are required of 
capable non-commissioned officers in the army, and it is curious 
to discover in many cases that the guide who has proved his 
mettle is really a non-commissioned officer in the army of his 
native land. If it be desired to select a single test by which 
to judge of a man's guiding-power, we should be inclined to ask 
that the candidates should be placed, each in command of a 
party, on a crevassed glacier, known to them, but then en- 
shrouded in a thick mist. Here again it is not so much the 
actual finding the right way to take that counts, but rather the 
power of keeping calm and composed when, as is always the 
case, the rest of the party is demoralised by the sudden descent 
of a mountain mist, blotting out all landmarks, and even the 
tracks made on the way up, owing to the slight snow-fall which 
often accompanies it at high altitudes. A good man, whatever 
his private anxieties may be, will keep up the spirits of his party 
by being cheery and encouraging, allowing no member to 
indulge in useless lamentations or complaints, keeping all on the 
move, looking after the husbanding of the provisions, in case of 
later need, leading, laughing, hoping, helping his companions in 
every way. If, under such circumstances, a guide gets his party 
out of their predicament, there must be something else very 
much against him, or the writer would unhesitatingly award 
him a first-class certificate. But be it recollected that first-class 
guides are very rare ; perhaps not twenty could be named 
in the whole chain of the Alps at the present time, and very 
likely the really good men are not those who enjoy a great 
public reputation — it all depends among what kind of amateurs 
that reputation is enjoyed. 

The present writer has travelled so long with absolutely first- 
class guides that he has perhaps an unduly high estimate of the 
qualities that ought to be possessed by a man laying claim to be 
reckoned in that category. To him, an old stager, the modern 
race of younger guides seems to fall far below their predecessors. 
They are perhaps better mannered, they may speak foreign 
tongues with greater facility, they are dressed a Panglaise^ in 


knickerbockers and Norfolk jackets, they wear a cock's feather 
in their hats ci la tyrolienne, they can ski, they can skate — it 
would be too much to say that they catinot guide, for a few 
of them can certainly scramble up rock pinnacles. No doubt, 
they have not had the opportunities enjoyed by their fore- 
runners, and for that they cannot reasonably be blamed. Their 
practical experience is therefore much more limited, and is 
generally confined to the peaks and passes in the immediate 
neighbourhood of their own valley. But to us they seem to 
lack the nerve, the dash, the sterling qualities of the guides of 
the good old days. Then the best men were like generals, 
commanding a small force ; Jioiv the best men are more like 
servants, simply obeying orders and carrying them out as they 
can. But perhaps these criticisms are simply the groans of a 
croaker, whose recollections of the ' good old days ' have, let us 
say, become mellowed in the course of time. It may be so, but 
the recollections are very pleasant, and as the writer does not 
climb any longer, the matter has really but a sentimental interest. 
Those who 'wandered' in the old days will most certainly 
agree with him, and be as sure, as he is, that nothing could 
surpass the enjoyment then gained, though, perhaps, their 
predecessors would not be inclined to admit to the full that they 
had not had the monopoly in their time. However, to each 
generation its special joys and sorrows, among the mountains as 
elsewhere. The youngsters of the present day, in their turn, 
years hence it is to be hoped, will find their thoughts revert to 
the earlier years of their climbing period. One may, of course, 
be deceived, but it is just those first years, when one is in one's 
prime, that one enjoys Alpine climbing most keenly, and that 
the recollections of ascents then accomplished, and of the trusty 
guides who then really led their party, are the freshest and the 
most vivid. May present-day mountaineers be able to recall, 
when the time comes for them to retire from active climbing, some- 
thing dimly resembling those delightful experiences which their 
predecessors from say 1870 to 1890 can recall ! If such is their 
good fortune, they can better enter into the memories of one who 
became a mountaineer in the dark days between 1865 and 1870. 


A year's round in the alps 

FEW persons, save those lucky individuals who are actually 
natives of the Alps, can have had such good fortune as 
has been the privilege of the present writer in the matter of 
prolonged and detailed acquaintance with that glorious moun- 
tain-chain. Since 1865 no summer has passed by during which 
he has not visited them, while he first saw them in their winter 
garb in December, 1873 — January, 1874. Little by little his 
summer sojourns amongst them lengthened at both ends. He 
tarried longer in the autumn and arrived earlier in the summer, 
so that finally it was hard to decide if his visits did not melt at 
either end into winter or spring. Then in March, 1896, he 
came to reside in the lovely Alpine valley of Grindelwald, where 
these words are written. Since that date, over twelve years ago, 
he has but rarely quitted them, and then only twice for more 
than two or three weeks at a time. Hence few, not being natives 
of the Alps, can know the mountains better at every season 
of the year, though unluckily the keenest appreciation does not 
carry with it the power of conveying that appreciation to others, 
or even of expressing it in words. Yet some attempt must be 
made to picture the Alps at varying seasons, so as to round 
off our account, albeit in an imperfect fashion. 

The vast majority of Alpine travellers see the Alps in summer 
first, and in summer only. This is in part due to the fact that 
holidays generally come in summer, and that the Alps are the 
'play-ground of Europe.' Without doubt, summer in the Alps 
has great advantages. The winter and spring snows have gone 
or are going ; the meadows and pastures are gay with a mul- 


titude of delightful flowers (till the scythe lays them low or 
the cows eat them up), and so afford an admirable foreground 
for the great rock and ice summits that tower above them ; 
everywhere hotels are open ; the railways are in full working ; 
the coolness of the Alpine air is deliciously refreshing to any one 
who flies from the heat of the plains ; it is possible to sit in 
long rapt admiration of the wonderful scenes that are unrolled 
before one's eyes ; the sky, especially when one has attained 
great heights, is all but black in its dark azure hue — in short 
it would seem that no season could be more favourable for a 
long stay among the Alps. Yet those who know them best are 
most aware that the summer is not the real life of the Alps, but 
simply a hectic and feverish interval of restlessness and move- 
ment (not merely of tourists) that barely fills a quarter of the 
year. As the summer advances the flowers disappear, for the 
cattle mount higher and higher, and the snow melts more and 
more, thus greatly facilitating mountain excursions, but at the 
same time leaving the great peaks either rock masses of nearly 
unrelieved black, or shining glassy ice, but without the delicate 
veil of snow that adorns them at other times. The tourists 
become more and more numerous, though those who know can 
still find nooks unprofaned by the madding crowd, nooks that 
the discoverers keep carefully to themselves, or reveal only to a 
few like-minded friends. By the end of August the tender grass 
and the flowers and most of the snow have all gone, and one 
almost seems to see the skeleton of the mountains without 
any flesh upon or around them. The effect is monotonous 
and wearisome, as must be admitted by every traveller who has 
seen the Alps in mid-June and at the end of August. Black or 
blue-black is the true colour of the Alps in the height of 
summer, and it is but slightly relieved by glimpses of blue and 
green, both these hues tending to become paler and more 
effaced as the weeks roll on. 

At the end of August there is almost always a considerable 
snow-fall in the Alps, which at once drives away the tourists who 
imagine that winter has already set in. Those who are wise 
keep up their courage amid the driving snow, and are all but 


always plenteously rewarded. The autumn snow throws a 
delicate lace veil of purest white over the naked bodies of the 
great peaks, softening the blackness of the rocks and the dim, 
uncanny shining of the ice upon them. It is true that the high 
mountain pastures are not of such a heavenly green as in the 
early summer. But, by way of compensation, the trees (other 
than pines) and the brushwood on the hillsides assume most 
wonderful russet-brown and reddish-gold tints which glow like 
fires and illuminate even the ugliest slopes. There are few more 
marvellous sights than the valley of the Liitschine between 
Grindelwald and Interlaken in October. The cattle come 
down amid general rejoicing, the count of cheese, butter, hay 
is closed, and as October deepens into November and December 
the Alps and their inhabitants prepare for the winter. Yet 
often till late in November, despite morning rime, and 
occasional snow flurries, the air is so mild and the sun so warm 
that on a fine day it is a perfect delight to sit out or to make 
excursions to some well-known hay hut on the upper pastures. 
The fences that have guarded the hay meadows since early 
summer are now thrown down, and one can wander at one's 
will over them, without need of troubling about the growing 
grass. Then, too, if living in a high Alpine valley, one reads, 
with full appreciation of one's good fortune, about the ' sea of 
clouds ' that broods, damp and choking, over the plains below, 
while above one is revelling in the keen pure air and cloudless 
sky and restful quiet after the departure of the noisy throngs. 

Some readers may be inclined to object that such glories must 
be of most exceptional occurrence. Certainly there are bad 
autumns when it rains or snows with scarcely a break, but then 
there are also summers of similar character. It is far better to 
assume in both cases that normal weather conditions prevail, and 
then the glories faintly indicated above will be the lot of the 
enchanted visitor, who dares brave prejudice and visits the Alps 
at a non-fashionable time of the year. 

As autumn advances the dwellers in an Alpine valley resume 
their ordinary avocations after the distractions of the summer. 
Cow-herds, milkers, cheesemakers, guides, porters, drivers, rail- 


way men, and so on, throw aside the occupation which brings 
grist to the mill. They become once more simple peasant 
proprietors, busied with the care of their cows, now back from 
the summer pastures, with receiving each his proper proportion 
of cheese made on the mountain pastures in the summer, with 
bringing down hay from the heights (profiting by an occasional 
snow-storm), with felling the trees in the forests that will serve 
as fuel during the winter or as materials for the repair of the 
house or of the stable, or for the construction of new build- 
ings. Every one is now absorbed by the duties of his real 
life, and has cast off for nine months the artificial restraints that 
have bound him during the summer. One may know well some 
celebrated mountain guide, or a railway station-master, or the 
lord of some cheese-hut, each amid their summer surroundings. 
But it is not at first easy to recognise them, freed from knicker- 
bockers and Norfolk jackets or uniforms or rough overalls, and 
clad in the simple clothes, woven perchance in the valley itself, 
that constitute their everyday attire for the greater part of the 
year. Such rough but serviceable clothes are admirably adapted 
for the hard work that is the daily portion of every able-bodied 
man in an Alpine valley. They cease to think of foreign visitors, 
and become athletic labourers. As winter comes on — but this is 
rarely before the middle of December — these men bring down on 
great sledges the late hay and the logs that have been prepared 
in the autumn, or the fallen leaves of trees carefully collected 
together to be used as stuffing for mattresses, or pine-cones for 
the family fire. The dexterity requ ired to manage a heavy sledge 
weighing (without its tackle) some forty pounds (this has had to be 
carried on the man's shoulders in the early morning, while at the 
same time he makes a track) is most remarkable, and practice is 
absolutely necessary, as a moment's faltering or slip unwarily made 
means death or serious mutilation. These tracks are, of course, 
much improved by the descent of the heavily laden sledges on 
their downward journey, and are most useful for foreign visitors, 
though they do not always lead to the desired spot, but only to 
the 'cache' where wood, now deep in snow, has been piled up in 
autumn. The air is keener and crisper and colder than in 


autumn, while, of course, the sun is no longer so high above the 
horizon. But if there is no wind, even really intense cold is but 
little felt, while a short climb up from the valley lands one in 
the brightest of sunshine, warm and grateful, if of short duration, 
though daily increasing in this respect. The soft snow and the 
sparkling rime on the pines glitter brilliantly in radiant sun- 
shine ; the sky above is of a wonderful blue, though less intense 
and dark than in summer ; the whole effect, on a fine winter's 
day, is one of light blue and silver. Walking is a joy (we pass 
over the modern imported distractions of skiing, tobogganing, 
and skating), and that even when (or because) it is necessary to 
fight one's way through deep snow, reaching one's goal with a 
proud feeling of having earned it by hard work, and with one's 
body filled with a glow that often is perilously near fever-heat. Yet, 
if winter joys in the Alps are great, there is one great drawback to 
this season from the picturesque point of view. A uniform 
dress of snow covers all the hills, great and small, so that the 
great peaks are dwarfed and the small ones gain in apparent 
stature. It becomes hard for an unpractised eye, or for a man 
who does not know the region in summer, to say definitely that 
such and such a peak is really several thousand feet higher 
than another which seems to tower over it. Distances become 
deceptive and heights a delusion and a snare. Yet to those who 
are familiar with these scenes at other seasons than winter there 
is a great charm in studying the dear old faces under their novel 
aspect, and in painfully (in the literal sense of the word) forcing 
one's way along a well-known path, marvelling that a little frozen 
water, fallen from above, can so transform and beautify one's 
favourite haunts. To the present writer winter is the most 
delightful season in the Alps, coupled with early summer, if the 
weather is fine. 

Winter in an Alpine valley ends in March, though there is 
often a foretaste of spring in February, while winter visitors know 
too well how often a horrid thaw sets in regularly about New 
Year's Day, just when they fondly imagine that they are in the 
very heart of winter. By March and April the spring avalanches 
begin to fall with power and might from the great peaks, which 


have kept a dignified and majestic silence all through the winter. 
This means the awakening of nature and of man, though neither 
has been asleep in the winter, like the marmots. Preparations 
must be made for sowing grass and potatoes and perhaps a few 
cereals. The cows issue occasionally from their winter-quarters, 
blinking at the unaccustomed light of day, and unsteady on their 
half-numbed legs. The village school starts a new year with 
Easter, and that means that the boys and girls of sixteen are 
sent out into the world, after an education completed (in the 
Protestant districts) by Confirmation at the hands of their be- 
loved pastor. New life is visible everywhere. The crocuses 
and later the gentians peep shyly through the snow, which has 
kept the earth warm all the winter long ; the sun's rays gain 
force and power, lingering lovingly on the valley and on the 
village nestling in its hollow, not far above the stream ; a tender 
greenness colours in an amazingly short space of time the fields, 
next the gardens, first the lower pastures, then the higher pas- 
tures, and creeps up steadily from day to day. The slope that 
extends at the foot of the great peaks becomes once more 
delicately beautiful and lovely ; the mountains still wrap them- 
selves in fragments of their winter dress, that clings to their 
flanks while not burying them beneath an impenetrable cloak. 
In short, the Alpine world is green, and that is the colour of an 
Alpine spring. But spring in the Alps as elsewhere is a variable 
and fickle quantity, and brings with it many disappointments. 

Such are the colours of the Alpine year — black and azure in 
summer, russet-brown and reddish-gold in autumn, pale blue 
and silver in winter, and tender green in spring — such is Nature's 
palette in the Alps. 






IN the preceding pages (save in the two historical Chapters, 
VII, and VIII.) we have treated of the Alps as a whole, con- 
sidering first their principal physical characteristics, next their 
inhabitants and their history, and finally the exploits of the 
bold adventurers who have conquered their loftiest pinnacles. 
We must now study the great chain more in detail, and dis- 
cover the characteristic features which mark off one region from 
another, our attention being largely devoted to the physical 
aspect of the Alps, for the inhabitants of the several districts 
have been spoken of above (Chapter vi.). Let it, however, never 
be forgotten that all physical divisions of the Alps are purely 
artificial, and are adopted simply for reasons of practical con- 
venience ; the inhabitants of the Alps in every part of the chain 
live, too, very much the same life, and closely resemble each 
other, apart of course from questions of language and religion, 
though the dwellers in the higher valleys are distinguished by 
many special traits from those who have their home in less 
rugged and more productive regions. 

A. — The Main Divisions of the Alps 

A few writers have proposed to divide the Alpine chain into two 
great divisions only — the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps. 
But though these two divisions are, roughly speaking, of about 
the same extent, this plan is open to several objections, quite 
apart from any geological considerations, of which no account is 
taken in this work. We naturally associate the term ' Eastern 



Alps ' with the Tyrol, but these writers use it in a wider sense 
and include under it the eastern part of the Swiss Alps. Further, 
the designation of ' Western Alps,' as employed by these writers, 
takes in not merely the Swiss Alps, but all the French Alps, and 
most of the Italian Alps, so that there is no clear line of distinc- 
tion to be found, and that, after all, is the principal object of 
creating any divisions at all. From a practical point of view 
some account 77iiist be taken of the linguistic and political con- 
ditions prevailing in the Alps, which this division tends to ignore 
or confound. Other writers include in the ' Western Alps ' all, 
or nearly all, the Swiss Alps, but this system is open to very 
much the same kind of objections as the former. 

The most generally recognised Divisions of the Alps are the 
Western, the Central, and the Eastern Alps. Such a scheme 
corresponds pretty well to the chief political and linguistic divi- 
sions, though of course no plan for splitting up a continuous 
chain can ever approach ideal perfection. This is best realised 
as soon as we attempt to fix the limits between the divisions 

As stated in Chapter i., the subject of this book is the Alpine 
chain proper, as distinguished on the one side from the Apen- 
nines, and on the other from the hills that extend towards the 
borders of Hungary. Hence the Col de Tenda, at the one 
extremity, and the Radstadter Tauern, at the other, mark off 
the ' Alps ' in the sense in which we employ the name in these 
pages. It is generally admitted that, within these limits, the 
most practical course is to select other great Passes across the 
main chain as the spots at which more minute divisions can best 
be made. The following scheme is that which best approves 
itself to the present writer, who has visited all parts of the Alps, 
save the central Bernina and the Bergamasque Alps, as well as 
the ranges of North and Central Tyrol and of Bavaria, and those 
rising at the S.E. end of the chain. 

I. The Western Alps (from the Col de Tenda to the Simplon 
Pass). — Our starting-point is naturally the Col de Tenda (6145 
ft.). But where are we to fix the point of division between this 


group and the Central Alps? There is no trouble at all about 
the main watershed, which is well defined and clear till near the 
borders of the Tyrol. Its direction, too, is, from a comparatively 
short distance from the Col de Tenda, roughly north and south, 
while it (also with one exception, in the Maritime Alps) forms 
the actual frontier between France, on the W., and Italy, on the 
E. The Little St. Bernard Pass seems to form, at first sight, 
the best line of division, for, soon after, the main chain bends 
gradually towards the E. through the range of Mont Blanc. But, 
in common parlance, that range, containing, as it does, the loftiest 
summit in the Alps, is usually reckoned as part of the Western 
Alps. If we include it, however, in that division, we find that, 
as for historical reasons its N.E. extremity is Swiss, Switzerland 
(no longer France) and Italy henceforward are the political owners 
of the chain. To add to our perplexities, we further discover 
that if we fix the point of division at the Great St. Bernard Pass, 
E. of the Mont Blanc chain, and not far from the spot at which 
the main chain takes a decidedly eastern direction, we should be 
obliged to cut asunder the loftiest and best-known range of the 
Alps, the Pennine Alps. This clearly cannot be done without 
blurring one of the relatively few facts as to the Alps of which 
most people are aware, and such a course would be opposed to 
the reasons of practical convenience, which are the sole excuse 
for making any divisions at all. Hence we must place our point 
of division further to the E. than the Great St. Bernard. The 
best spot seems to be at the Simplon Pass (6592 ft.), which is 
commonly held to mark the eastern extremity of the Pennine 
Alps, and now boasts of a great international railway line that 
burrows beneath it, while, just as from the N. extremity of the 
range of Mont Blanc, Switzerland takes the place of France on 
the non-Italian slope. It is true that from the N, end of the 
Mont Blanc chain to the Simplon a great independent range, 
generally called the Bernese Alps (though parts of it are in other 
Swiss Cantons), faces us on the other side of the deep-cut Rhone 
valley. But that valley very clearly separates the Bernese Alps 
from the Pennine Alps, while the junction of the former range 
with the main watershed of the Alps takes place much farther to 


the east than the Simplon Pass, and at the very head of the long 
Rhone valley. Hence, all things considered, the Simplon forms 
practically the most convenient line of division between the 
Western and the Central Alps. 

2. The Central Alps (from the Simplon to the Reschen 
Scheideck Pass). — Starting from the Simplon and wandering 
eastwards, which is the next great pass that may be adopted as 
the point of division between the Central and the Eastern 
Alps ? Three offer themselves at once to our consideration — 
the Maloja (5935 ft.), the Reschen Scheideck (4902 ft., some- 
times called inaccurately the Malserheide), and the Brenner 
(4495 ft.). As regards the first, the main watershed from the 
Simplon as far as that spot is perfectly distinct, while Switzer- 
land and Italy are still the political rulers of the two slopes. 
But the great practical objection to the adoption of the Maloja 
is that it would throw the whole Engadine valley, as well as 
its loftiest summits, the Bernina range, into the Eastern Alps. 
Now the term ' Eastern Alps ' has to the average English 
reader a flavour of the Tyrol, and the Lower Engadine alone 
was ever Tyrolese historically. The Brenner, on the other 
hand, forms an almost ideal line of division. For centuries 
the main means of communication between Germany and Italy 
and one of the best-marked depressions in the Alps, it cuts 
across the great chain at a spot before this has split up into 
several parallel ranges, as is the case farther east. But, to 
the mind of the present writer, the Brenner has one fatal 
defect, looked at from our point of view — it is situated to the 
E. of most of the highest Tyrolese peaks, and its adoption 
would force us to include in the Central Alps some of the most 
important ranges of the Tyrol. Hence it seems to the present 
writer that our choice must finally fall upon the Reschen 
Scheideck, coupled with its natural continuation to the N., 
the Arlberg Pass (5912 ft.). It shares, indeed, with the Brenner 
the disadvantage that the main watershed between it and the 
Bernina Pass is ill-defined, and that a portion (in this case, 
however, a very small portion) of the Tyrol is thus included 


in the Central Alps. On the other hand, the Reschen 
Scheideck lies W. of most of the great Tyrolese peaks, which 
therefore very properly fall to the share of the Eastern Alps, 
while the deep-cut upper valley (the Vintschgau) of the Adige 
(the Eisack valley, down which runs the Brenner route, is its 
tributary) on its southern slope is rightly described by Mr. 
John Ball as ' one of the most remarkable features in the 
orography of the Alps ' ; thus no part of Swiss territory comes 
into the Eastern Alps. One drawback the Reschen Scheideck 
certainly possesses from our point of view, but is not the 
absolutely ideal a will-o'-the-wisp? If we follow the trough of 
the Adige from Mais at the immediate S. foot of the pass, 
we find that the mighty Ortler group, comprising the culminat- 
ing points of the Tyrolese Alps, has most inconsiderately been 
placed by Nature to the S. and W. of that great valley. But it is 
obvious that the principal Tyrolese peaks ought not to be torn 
asunder from their neighbours. Hence from Mais, at the S. 
foot of the Reschen Scheideck, we must devise a purely artificial 
line of division. We must draw our practical boundary first 
to the head of the Valtelline or the upper Adda valley, either 
over the old historical Umbrail Pass, or over that of the Stelvio, 
which became well known only after it obtained its carriage 
road in the early portion of the nineteenth century, while the 
Umbrail had to wait for the first years of the twentieth before 
it secured the same boon ; the choice of one pass or the other 
has, however, little practical importance, for if the routes separate 
at Mais, they rejoin high up on the other slope of the Stelvio. 
From Tirano, near the head of the Valtelline, another carriage 
road leads E. over the low and well-marked Aprica Pass (3875 
ft.) to the Val Camonica, down which we follow the course of 
the Oglio, which forms the Lake of Iseo, to near Brescia, which 
is only some forty miles E. of Verona, where both the Reschen 
Scheideck and the Brenner routes reach the Italian plain. 

Thus, according to our division, the Central Alps are wholly 
Swiss and Italian, save the N. slope of the Silvretta and 
Rhatikon groups, as well as one small bit W. of the Reschen 
Scheideck Pass, and another from that pass to Mais and so up 


to the Stelvio, for on the Umbrail route Switzerland comes 
down close to Mais. 

3. The Eastern Alps (from the Reschen Scheideck to the 
Radstadter Tauern). — The line of division to the W. has just 
been discussed, the only doubtful point being the choice 
between the Umbrail and the Stelvio, while that to the E., 
corresponding with the E. limit of the chain of the Alps in 
general, was settled in Chapter i. Thus, according to our 
scheme, the Eastern Alps are wholly Austrian (including the 
Trentino on the S. slope) and Italian, with the sole exception 
of the limestone hills of Bavaria, far away at the N.W. angle 
of the region. 

B. — The Principal Groups of the Alps 

Such being the main lines that mark off, not merely the Alps 
from other ranges, but the three great divisions within the 
Alps themselves, we must now go on to consider the various 
groups which can be distinguished inside each of the three 
principal divisions. In selecting them we have been guided 
by considerations similar to those which have prevailed with 
us in fixing the limits between the great divisions, though it 
appears best to speak of this second set of reasons in the course 
of our study of the twenty groups that have approved them- 
selves to us. The following bare list of twenty groups, and 
their boundaries, may be convenient for purposes of reference: — 

I— Western Alps (from the Col de Tenda to the Simplon). 

1. Maritime Alps (Col de Tenda to Col de I'Argentiere). 

2. Cottian Alps (Col de I'Argentiere to the Mont 

Cenis, and E. of the Col du Galibier). 

3. Dauphin^ Alps (W. of the Col du Galibier as well 

as of the Guisane and upper Durance valleys). 

4. Grraian Alps (from the Mont Cenis to the Col de 

la Seigne). 



5. Chain of Mont Blanc, or the Western Pennine Alps 

(from the Col de la Seigne to the Col Ferret). 

6. Central Pennine Alps (from the Col Ferret to the 

St. Theodule Pass). 

7. Eastern Pennine Alps (St. Theodule to the Simplon). 

II.— Central Alps (from the Simplon to the Reschen 
Scheideck Pass and the Stelvio). 

8. Bernese Alps (from the Lake of Geneva to the Lake 

of Lucerne, N. of the Rhone valley and of the 
Furka Pass, and W. of the Reuss valley). 

9. Lepontine Alps (from the Simplon to the Spliigen 

Pass, S. of the Furka and Oberalp Passes). 

10. The Range of the Todi (from the Oberalp Pass to 

the Klausen Pass and the Lake of Walenstadt). 

11. The Alps of North-East Switzerland (N. of the 

Klausen Pass and the Lake of Walenstadt). 

12. Bernina Alps (from the Maloja to the Reschen 

Scheideck and the Stelvio, N. of the Valtelline 
and E. of the Val Bregaglia and the Engadine). 

13. Alhula Group (from the Spliigen to the Fliiela Pass 

and the Maloja). 

14. Silvretta and Rhatikon Group (from the Fliiela to 

the Reschen Scheideck and the Arlberg Pass). 

III.— Eastern Alps (from the Reschen Scheideck and the 
Stelvio to the Radstadter Tauern). 

15. The Alps of Bavaria, the Vorarlberg, and Salzburg 

(N. of the Arlberg Pass, Innsbruck, the Pinzgau, 
and the Enns valley). 

16. Ortler, Oetzthal, and Stubai Ranges (from the 

Reschen Scheideck and the Stelvio to the Brenner 
Pass, E. and S. of the Inn valley, and N. of the 
Tonale and Aprica Passes). 

17. Lombard Alps (from the Lake of Como to near Tirano 

in the Adige valley, S. of the Valtelline and of the 
Tonale and Aprica Passes). 


1 8. Central Tyrolese Alps (from the Brenner Pass to the 

Radstadter Tauern, N. of the Pusterthal and the 
upper Drave valley, and S. of the Pinzgau and the 
Enns valley). 

19. The Dolomites of South Tyrol (from the Brenner 

route to the Monte Croce Pass, S. of the 

20. South-Eastern Alps (E. of the Monte Croce Pass, and 

S. of the upper Drave valley). 

Now each of these twenty groups differs from the other, 
like stars both in glory and in attractiveness. Each has its 
own set of admirers, and perhaps of detractors also. Ideally 
each should be visited in order to test its merits or drawbacks, 
though not many Alpine travellers can attain this ideal. They 
will prefer to limit their energies to a few groups which they 
know well, perhaps here and there trying a new group by way 
of change. Sometimes this flirting has good results, some- 
times it simply confirms one's affection for old friends. Yet it 
may happen that a man may long admire respectfully a certain 
range on the horizon, before coming to know it better and then 
really liking it. Another new friend may gain one's love at 
once, albeit it may lack the severe grandeur of its neighbours, 
while in another case the way to one's innermost heart may 
be won slowly, though steadily. Rarely will any two Alpine 
travellers be completely in agreement as to their favourite 
ranges, though they may agree as to a some one range. Tastes 
differ here, as in other departments of life. The present 
writer knows English climbers who scorn the Tyrol, and others 
who despise the Central Alps — in either case a nearer acquaint- 
ance might alter their ideas and prejudices. Luckily the Alps 
are wide enough to shelter men of very varying opinions as to 
these matters of personal preference. So let us now go on 
to point out the really characteristic features of our twenty 
groups, laying stress in each case on its merits, and passing 
lightly over its drawbacks. 


I, — Western Alps 

I. Maritime Alps. — Most people probably believe that the 
Maritime Alps are the hills that rise just back of Mentone, 
Nice, and Cannes. Herein they agree with the Romans of old, 
to whom the ' Alpis Maritima ' was the track along the sea-coast 
from Genoa to Marseilles, that attains its highest point at Turbie, 
(1490 ft.), above Monte Carlo. Yet, if any of these hills be 
mounted, or even if the Lerins Islands, opposite Cannes, be 
visited, the horizon is seen to be bounded to the N. by a long line 
of rocky and snowy summits. These are the true Maritime Alps, 
and ever look down contemptuously on the tiny foot-hills which 
often usurp their name. For once the title of a French 
Department is clear and unmistakable, as that of the 'Alpes 
Maritimes ' stretches from Nice and Cannes northwards nearly 
to Barcelonnette in the Ubaye valley, for since i860, when the 
county of Nice was given up by the House of Savoy to France, 
the real Maritime Alps divide France and Italy, the older 
boundaries of the Var and of Turbie being thus quite super- 
seded. Besides, if we consider the question carefully, we see 
that the foot-hills above the ' Littoral ' or the ' Cote d'Azur ' 
are in no sense 'Alps.' They are most certainly, stony and 
dried up as they are, not ' Alps ' in the sense of rich and 
fertile Alpine pastures. Still less are they ' Alps ' if we accept 
the definition given in our very first chapter, that ' Alps ' are 
mountains which are lofty enough to bear considerable masses 
of perpetual snow. In this, the true sense, the Maritime Alps 
rise far back of the sea-coast. They start from the Col de 
Tenda (6145 ft.), that leads from Cuneo to Ventimiglia, and 
are most conveniently limited on the N. by the Col de 
TArgentiere (6545 ft.), which connects Cuneo with Barcelon- 
nette. The Roja torrent descends direct from the Col de 
Tenda to the sea, but for historical reasons, enumerated in 
Chapter vi., is Italian throughout, save in its middle reach. 
At the S. foot of the Col de Tenda and at the head-waters of 
the Roja is the old Benedictine convent of San Dalmazzo di 
Tenda, now a charming Italian summer-resort. On the French 


slope of the chain the Alpine hamlet of St. Martin Vesubie 
(formerly called St. Martin Lantosque) is the favourite resort 
in summer of the inhabitants of the 'Littoral.' It is situated 
near the head of the Vesubie valley, an affluent of the Var, 
while an easy mule pass leads from it to the Baths of Valdieri, 
on the Italian slope of the chain, and also much frequented in 
the heats of summer. These Baths (some way distant from the 
town of the same name) are at the head of the Gesso valley, 
and form the centre of the king of Italy's hunting preserves, 
so that many convenient mule paths have been constructed in 
the neighbourhood, and even over to the glens on the other 
slope, which in i860 were not ceded, for reasons of the chase, 
to France. The Baths lie between two of the highest summits 
of the Maritime Alps, the Punta dell' Argentera (10,794 ft., with 
its prolongation, the Monte Stella, or Gelas di Lourousa, 
10,696 ft.) and the Monte Matto (10,128 ft.). To the N.E. of 
St. Martin Vesubie rise two other lofty peaks, the Cima dei 
Gelas (10,286 ft.) and the Mont Clapier (9994 ft.), on the N. 
slope of which are the principal glaciers of the region, small, 
but crevassed, like their comrades elsewhere. All these are 
wholly Italian. The Mont Tinibras (9948 ft.) is farther to 
the N. and on the watershed and political frontier, but the 
two great belvederes on the French side, the Mont Pelat 
(10,017 ft.) and the Mont Monnier (9246 ft.), are wholly in 
France, though the Besimauda (7887 ft.), near the Col de 
Tenda, is wholly in Italy. Now the characteristic feature of the 
Maritime Alps is the amazing panorama that is gained from 
most of these peaks, for the eye lights on the level surface of 
the Mediterranean, in one direction, and on Monte Viso, Mont 
Blanc, Monte Rosa, and even the Matterhorn, in the other. 
From no other snow-covered peaks in the Alps is the Middle Sea 
visible, so that our range rejoices in an advantage which cannot 
possibly be disputed by any of its rivals. By a quaint freak of 
fortune the Maritimes were the first snow-covered peaks of the 
Alps that ever met the gaze of the present writer. He was 
spending the winter (1864-5) ^^ Cannes (then but little known), 
and often made excursions to the Lerins Islands, from which 


they are well seen, though at the time he thought more of local 
history than of Alpine summits. But in 1S79 he became one 
of the chief explorers of these neglected peaks. Envious mists 
hid the sea when he stood on the Argentera and on the Monnier, 
But these disappointments were made up for a short time later, 
when, on two successive days, from the tops of the Gelas and 
the Clapier, the Mediterranean lay unrolled before him and 
his two Oberland guides, who had never seen it before. The 
Esterels, the Lerins Islands, the Bay of La Napoule, the pro- 
montory of Antibes were all identified, while on the far horizon 
floated a dim vision of Corsica. Nor was this all, for, swimming 
high above the misty Lombard plain, we saw many old friends 
in the Alps, from the IMonte Viso right round to Monte Rosa, 
including Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, the Weisshorn, etc., all 
clearly standing out against the azure sky. We greeted, too, the 
Argentera, the first ascent of which we had made a few days 
previously, though very unexpectedly, as we were under the 
erroneous impression that it had been visited previously. Then 
we were enveloped in mist, but now we saw the whole ridge, 
and rejoiced all the more in our conquest of the culminating 
point of the region. Four years later the present writer, with 
a friend, enjoyed an even more wonderful view of the sea from 
the Besimauda, a low point (7887 ft.) to the N.E. of the Col de 
Tenda, and so not strictly within the Maritime Alps, as we have 
limited them in these pages. We started for the ascent from 
Limone after lunch on Midsummer's Eve, a blazing hot day, 
and were nearly cooked before we gained the gentian-starred 
upper pastures. Then a cool north breeze met us, and also a 
view that became finer and finer as we walked over them to the 
summit. There our eyes were more than sated by the spectacle 
of the whole Alpine chain from the Viso to the Monte della 
Disgrazia (near the Engadine), forming a great circle that served 
as a rampart to the Lombard plain. Peak after peak could easily 
be identified (though Mont Blanc itself was invisible), while the 
sight of the minor ridges and spurs breaking down into the plain 
was an object-lesson in physical geography. Turning round, 
we had a glimpse, through a break in the hills, of Genoa and 



its gulf, glittering in the sun's rays. It was a scene never to 
be forgotten. We descended to sleep that night at the old 
secularised Carthusian convent of Pesio, embowered amid its 
chestnuts. But, though the writer was beguiled into spending 
the whole of the following September in that lovely spot, he 
never ventured to disturb that ineffaceable impression by another 
visit to the Besimauda. He was content to sit in the cloisters 
(half a mile in extent, it is said), from a neighbouring chapel to 
marvel at the daily vision of Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, and 
the Weisshorn, shining aloft, across the dim plain and the chest- 
nuts nearer by, against a perfect sky. It is a thousand pities 
that political jealousies between France and Italy render it 
difficult for a traveller to explore the higher regions of the 
Maritime Alps, though perhaps these mutual suspicions have now 
calmed down a little. 

2. Cottian Alps. — King Cottius would probably be more sur- 
prised than anybody else to learn that his name has been given ""^ 
to one of the most considerable groups of the Alps, though 
his kingdom, first independent, then annexed by Augustus, did 
sit astride of the central portion of what are now called the 
'Cottian Alps.' It is perhaps even more surprising that this 
district of the Alps has never been named after Hannibal, for, 
with the exceptions of the Little St. Bernard and the Col de la 
Seigne, all the passes over which divers writers have taken him 
cross the ridge of the Cottian Alps. 

In our division of the Alpine chain the Cottian Alps stretch 
from the Col de I'Argentiere on the S. to the Mont Cenis Pass 
(6893 ft.), on the N. The Romans, however, gave the name 
of 'Alpis Cottia' to neither of these passes, but to the Mont 
Genevre that lies midway between them, which, as we have 
tried to show in Chapter viii., is the great Historical Pass of 
the Western Alps. The Argentiere, though certainly crossed 
in Roman times, does not appear much in history till late in 
the fourteenth century, and first became widely known when 
Francis i. crossed it in 15 15. On the other hand, the Mont 
Cenis came into prominence in Carolingian times, for it is not 


known to have been crossed earlier than the middle of the 
eighth century of our era, though a little later it became the 
most fashionable pass in the Western Alps, and the usual route 
from France to Italy. 

A glance at the map shows that the Cottian Alps comprise a 
very long section of the main ridge of the Alps. Hence its 
several districts differ from each other in many ways. Perhaps 
the best marked characteristic feature of the Cottians is that a 
very considerable stretch has no permanent ice or snow upon it. 
There are a few small glaciers at the head of the Ubaye valley 
which is thrust up, on the French side of the chain, into the 
chain nearly as far as Monte Viso, while that famous peak itself 
(12,609 ft.), the monarch of the Cottians (first conquered in 1861 
by two Englishmen), has one tiny glacier of its own, which, 
however, can boast of being the true source of the Po. It is 
only in the most northerly portion of the range that glaciers 
of any size appear, and even then their extent is not really 
very great. It is hard to explain this phenomenon, since the 
Maritimes farther S. have glaciers, while the mighty Dauphine 
Alps, strictly forming part of the Cottians, though more con- 
veniently treated as a separate group, have very extensive snow- 
fields, so that it is not the southern position of the Cottians 
which explains this singularity. One result of this comparatively 
snowless character of the range has been to make it, if not 
'the cockpit of Europe' (like Belgium), certainly the chief 
battlefield between France (the heir of the Dauphins) and the 
House of Savoy, a prolonged struggle that we sketched above 
in Chapter vii. Among the most interesting and remarkable 
campaigns that were waged in these regions was that carried 
out by Catinat in 1692. Almost every pass across the main 
ridge can easily be forced by a strong band of soldiers, so 
that well-nigh every pass has its own local military history. 

Another feature of our range is that the higher summits are 
inclined to rise close to, but just off the main divide. Thus 
the Aiguille de Chambeyron (11,155 ft.), and Monte Viso, and 
Rochebrune (10,906 ft.); though farther north this curious shy- 
ness passes away, and we find the normal arrangement according 


to which the higher summits rise on the actual watershed. Save 
Monte Viso and its spurs, few peaks of the Cottians attain a 
height of over ii,ooo ft., the average altitude being greater than 
in the case of the Maritimes, but far inferior to that of the great 
mass of the Dauphine Alps. Even so, the summits that rank 
next after the Viso are collected together, so to speak, either in 
the Chambeyron group, at the head of the Ubaye valley, or 
in the Scolette and Ambin groups, to the S.W. of the Mont 
Cenis. Probably it is the comparative isolation of Monte 
Viso that gave rise to exaggerated ideas as to its height (really 
but 12,609 ft.), and won for it the name of the 'visible peak,' 
for it seems to tower up almost alone when seen from the 
Piedmontese plain. Hence we are not astonished to find that 
it is the only great Alpine peak which is noticed by the writers 
of classical antiquity. The pines, as well as the wild boars, 
both sung by Virgil, have long since disappeared, but it is 
from the Viso that the infant Po still flows, as Chaucer told 
us centuries ago : 

' Of Saluces the centre, 
And of Mount Vesulus in special, 
Wher as the Poo out of a welle smal 
Taketh his firste springyng and his sours.' 

Of course the Po is the mightiest river of Piedmont, so that 
its source attracted interest at a very early date. But the Po 
is not the only river of importance that rises in our region. On 
the Italian side we have the Stura, the Chisone, and the Dora 
Riparia, all affluents of the Po, while on the French side are the 
Durance itself (with its feeders, the Guil and the Ubaye), and 
the Arc, two of the principal affluents of the Rhone, directly or 
through the Isere (which rises in the Graians). 

If we turn from the actual range itself to its inhabitants, 
several notable features at once strike us. To this day, save 
on the E. slope of a portion of its most southerly district, French 
(in one dialect or the other) is the one tongue that is commonly 
spoken in all parts of the Cottians, whether now politically 
French or Itahan. This circumstance is due to the fact that 






the whole region was, till 17 13, part of Dauphine (see Chapter 
VII.), and therefore naturally attracted towards the French form 
of the Romance tongue. Of course, officially, Italian is used on 
the slope, politically Italian, but the people themselves employ 
a rough dialect that certainly resembles French rather than Pied- 
montese. A further result of the same long connection with 
Dauphine is the settlement in the Alpine valleys, S.W. of Turin, 
of the 'Vaudois' or 'Waldensians.' It is most probable that this 
people formed a colony from Dauphine which pressed over the 
Alps, leaving on the other slope certain members, who still exist, 
miserably, in the glens at the head of the Durance valley. It is 
possible that the forebears of the Vaudois did not come direct 
from Dauphine, but were certain Dauphinois who had settled 
in Lombardy and were pressed backwards into the valleys now 
occupied by the Vaudois. Their special doctrines were taken 
from Peter Waldo, of Lyons, who put them forth about 11 77, 
but, whatever may be thought of them, they disappeared in 1532 
and 157 1, when the Calvinism of Geneva was formally adopted 
in their place (Genevese ministers replacing the old ' barbes ' 
in 1630), so that nowadays the Vaudois are more strictly 
Calvinist than are the Genevese themselves. 

In the Cottians are also two of the earliest tunnels, pierced 
beneath mountain passes. One was excavated between 1478 
and 1480 beneath the Col de la Traversette, at the N. foot of 
Monte Viso, in order that salt from Provence might be bartered 
against rice and oil from Italy. The other is that properly called 
the Frejus Tunnel (as it passes beneath the pass of that name), 
and wrongly named the Mont Cenis Tunnel (as it is seventeen 
miles to the W. of that pass), the first of the great tunnels 
through the Alps, and opened for traffic in 1871. 

3. Dauphin^ Alps. — Really and truly the Dauphine 
Alps form part of the great Cottian range, but as the highest 
portion (often called the Pelvoux group, from the peak that 
was formerly the best known, though not its highest summit) is 
curiously isolated, and is connected with the main mass of the 
Cottians only by the isthmus of the Col du Lautaret (6808 ft., 



a paradise for botanists), they are usually considered to form a 
district to themselves. For the sake of practical convenience 
other minor ranges to the N., on or near the frontier of Dauphine 
and Savoy (so the Aiguilles d'Arves, 11,529 ft., and the 
Grandes Rousses, 11,395 f^.), are commonly joined with the 
Pelvoux group under the general name of the ' Dauphine Alps ' 
— more properly these should be called the ' Central Dauphine 
Alps,' in order to distinguish them from the Dauphine slope of 
the main range of the Cottians, to the E., and from the lower 
ranges of the Vercors, the Royannais, the Devoluy, etc., to the 
W. and S.W. The exact limit between our group and the 
Cottians is thus best placed at the Col du Galibier (8721 ft.), 
over which runs the second highest carriage road in the Alps 
(that over the Stelvio, 9055 ft., is rather higher), that leads 
from St. Michel de Maurienne past the charmingly situated 
hamlet of Valloire to the summit plain of the Col du Lautaret 

Now the name ' Dauphine ' used, in former years, to call up the 
ideas of dirty inns and countless stones. Within the last 
twenty years the inns at all the spots likely to be most visited by 
travellers have been vastly improved, and are run either by 
Swiss landlords (for are not the Chamonix men who manage 
them 'Swiss 'from the hotel point of view?) or by local men 
who have become aware of the requirements of modern travellers, 
and do their best to meet them. After all, the old inns were 
not so terrible as depicted, or rather they were Hke those then 
found everywhere in the French and Italian Alps, not being, by 
any means, exceptional. But, as it happened, the early ex- 
plorers were naturally drawn to the Pelvoux group, and im- 
agined that the inns there were worse than anywhere else. The 
present writer first visited the district in June, 1870, just 
before the outbreak of the great war, and therefore had a pro- 
longed experience of these unreformed inns. But even in the 
seventies he found much worse inns in other parts of the 
Alpine chain than in the Dauphine Alps, and, if pressed, could 
still indicate certain hostelries elsewhere that have changed but 
little since those days. 


As to the stones, the accusation remains true, for their 
number has increased, if anything, through the gradual wearing 
away of the peaks, which discharge their rubbish into the 
valleys below them. Yet the valleys which so shock travellers 
in this part of the Alps are by no means the worst in the dis- 
trict, for whoever desires to see what a real stony region is 
should visit the Devoluy to the S.W. of the main group, and he 
will come back a wiser and more cheerful man to the Veneon 
valley, that forms the heart of the Dauphine Alps. Besides the 
stones, the mountain slopes in the Alpine valleys of Dauphine 
have a bad habit of ending in high cliffs, more or less steep, 
often overhanging, so that long ago it was laid down by a high 
authority (and the present writer has often proved the truth of 
the remark) that in this region a new pass was not completed 
till one had actually reached the stream in the valley. 

In point of height the Dauphine Alps rank very high. Their 
loftiest peak, the Pointe des Ecrins (conquered first by an 
EngUsh party in 1864), attains 13,462 ft., so that it is the 
highest summit that rises S. of the Mont Blanc chain. It is but 
207 ft. lower than the Jungfrau and 6 ft. lower than the Monch, 
though 76 ft. higher than the Gross Schreckhorn, to name three 
peaks better known to travellers. Further, save a few peaks in 
the Mont Blanc chain, the Pennines, and the Bernese Oberland, 
it is without a rival in the Alps ; for Piz Bernina is rather 
lower (13,304 ft.), and the Ortler, the culminating point of the 
Eastern Alps, considerably lower (12,802 ft.). Then, too, the 
Ecrins is not, like Monte Viso, an isolated summit, for it is 
closely pursued by its neighbours the Meije (13,081 ft.), the Aile- 
froide (12,989 ft.), and the Mont Pelvoux (12,973 ft-), so that 
it was not till the early sixties that it was clearly distinguished 
from its neighbours and assigned the proud position that had 
always rightly belonged to it. 

Another very marked feature of this district is the extra- 
ordinary fashion in which the very numerous lateral ridges are 
crowded together, so that, quite apart from the main horseshoe, 
they are crowned by a great multitude of peaks. This squeez- 
ing together as if by an hydraulic press has one great advantage 


for climbers — these summits can mostly be reached in a day's 
excursion from one's headquarters in the valley, thus avoiding 
the necessity of sleeping out. Hence the desolate hamlet of 
La Berarde (5702 ft.), situated in the centre of the great horse- 
shoe formed by the main mass, and just where streams unite 
from two of the principal Alpine glens, is one of the finest 
mountaineering headquarters in the Alps — at any rate as 
regards the number of peaks and passes to be visited thence. 
But, thanks in great measure to the former fiery energy of the 
present writer, virgin peaks around La Berarde have ceased to 
exist, though in the seventies and even in the early eighties one 
had simply to decide every morning in what direction one should 
turn one's steps, for on every side unsealed peaks awaited their 
conqueror. The writer's Grenoble friends used to complain to 
him that the journey by diligence and on foot from Grenoble to 
La Berarde (now rendered much easier) was so long that they 
really could not undertake it. His answer was that he did not 
consider the journey from Oxford to La Berarde too long. 
Hence, when these friends really did arrive at La Berarde, they 
found a forest of stone men on all the neighbouring summits, 
built in the course of many happy summers by the writer and 
his two faithful Oberland guides. 

The views, too, offered by the higher summits of the region 
are most magnificent, and that not merely towards IMonte Viso 
and the Pennines, which are always visible in fine weather. 
One of the most striking sights ever witnessed by the present 
writer was from a high bivouac on the S. slope of the Pelvoux, 
when, as daylight vanished, the eye ranged over many ridges, 
the crest being in each case picked out by the light, though the 
slope was enshrouded in darkness, these ridges fading away, 
little by little, towards the plains of Provence, and presenting 
a marvellous series of silhouettes. 

To English readers the Dauphine Alps are especially interest- 
ing because, while J. D. Forbes (the first great British mountain 
explorer) crossed several of their glacier passes as far back as 
1 841, almost all the other high summits and passes have been 
first climbed by English mountaineers, if the writer (a New 





Yorker by birth) may be reckoned among English cHmbers. 
The great exception was the Meije, which, in 1877, fell by a kind 
of accident to a young Frenchman, who was a chamois hunter 
rather than a peak hunter. 

The Alpine historian, too, finds the Dauphine region very 
attractive. In it rises that singular summit (some 36 miles 
S. of Grenoble) of the Mont Aiguille (6880 ft.), which was 
ascended as far back as 1492 by Antoine de Ville and his party, 
aided by ladders, etc., as we have described in Chapter ix. 
Five of the great glacier passes were known as early as 1673, 
while the district was carefully mapped by Bourcet between 
1749 and 1754, so that it was perhaps the first Alpine region to 
be shown in detail (and astonishingly accurate detail, too) on a 
map. Yet it did not attract much notice for long, really not 
till after i860, though the French map surveyors and a French 
botanist, Monsieur Victor Puiseux, visited the two loftiest points 
of the Pelvoux in 1830 and 1848 respectively, while two chamois 
hunters, during the chase, really attained in 1839 the Central 
Aiguille d'Arves, their rather fantastic narrative being fully con- 
firmed by the discovery near the top in 1876 of a coin left by 
them, albeit the discoverer had then no knowledge of their 

Let us recall, too, the memory of Deodat de Gratet, Marquis 
de Dolomieu (1750-1801), after whose famous geological journey 
of 1789 the Dolomites of South Tyrol were named, though he 
seems to have paid no attention to the peaks composed of 
similar rock that rise in the Vercors, the Royannais, and the 
Devoluy, all to the S.W. of Grenoble, while his own estate of 
Dolomieu is some way N.W. of that city. 

4. Graian Alps.— The Graian Alps resemble the Cottian 
Alps in several respects. In both groups we find a long back- 
bone running roughly from S. to N., while on the W. a kind 
of rib or isthmus connects this central spine with a lofty 
half-insulated group, called the Dauphine Alps in the case of 
the Cottians and the Western Graians in that of the Graians. 
But the Graians, unlike the Cottians, have a second curiously 



similar isolated group, also connected with the main mass by 
a kind of isthmus, and called the Eastern Graians. In short, 
the Graians are more symmetrically built than the Cottians, 
comprising what are practically three separate ranges, as against 
the two of which the Cottians can boast. 

The Central Graians, or the great backbone, like the Cottians, 
runs in nearly, but not quite, a straight line, the bend towards 
the N.E., noticeable in the N. portion of the Cottians, being, as it 
were, balanced by the bend towards the N.W. that strikes the 
eye at once on examining a map of the N. half of the Central 
Graians. The Central Graians stretch from the Mont Cenis, on 
the S., to the Little St. Bernard Pass (7179 ft.) — the 'Alpis 
Graia' of the Romans — on the N., but it is convenient to 
include in them the sort of no-man's-land that extends from the 
Little St. Bernard northwards to the Col de la Seigne (8242 ft.); 
this pass is the best S. limit of the chain of Mont Blanc, and 
some concession must be made to the ' Monarch of the Alps.' 
Now the bend towards the N.W. noted above takes place at the 
Col du Carro (10,302 ft.), which is quite close to the points at 
which the two isthmuses, connecting the main backbone with 
the Western and the Eastern Graians, join or diverge from the 
great central backbone, the Col du Mont Iseran (9085 ft.) 
linking it with the Western Graians, while the Col de la Croix de 
Nivolet (8665 ft.) performs the same function in the case of the 
Eastern Graians. These unequal halves of the Central Graians 
present in their turn two very striking parallelisms. In each 
case three Alpine glens descend from them on the Italian slope, 
those in the S. half being the three Valleys of Lanzo, that 
debouch into the Piedmontese plain a little to the N. of Turin, 
while the three in the N. half — the Val Savaranche, the Val de 
Rhemes, and the Val Grisanche — are all tributaries of the Val 
d'Aosta ; the Stura of Lanzo joins the Po, as does the Dora Baltea, 
which receives the streams flowing from the three Aostan glens. 
The other point of resemblance between the two halves of the 
Central Graians is that, as often elsewhere in the Alps, the 
Italian slope is far steeper and shorter than that on the other || 
side, so that the villages on the French slope are higher than 


those on the other, while the Oreo, on the Italian side, curiously 
balances, to use that phrase once again, the Arc, on the other 
slope, though, of course, the Oreo is an affluent of the Po, and 
the Arc of the Isere, and so ultimately of the Rhone. 

There are yet other resemblances between the Cottians and 
the Central Graians. We noticed when describing the former 
that the main chain was crossed by an extraordinary number of 
easy passes. The same phenomenon is to be observed in the 
Central Graians, but with the difference that whereas in the 
Cottians these passes were generally snowless, in the Central 
Graians they are generally glacier passes, though of such an easy 
character that in the last sixty years of the seventeenth century 
no fewer than six are mentioned in maps or in documents. 
Again, just as the two slopes of the Cottians are closely related 
as to language, commerce, etc., because till 17 13 they both 
formed part of the Dauphine, that is (since 1349), of France, so 
the two slopes of the Central Graians are intimately connected 
with each other, the language being more or less an identical 
dialect, while till i860 they had both been ruled for many 
centuries by the House of Savoy. 

One more point of resemblance between the Cottians and 
the Central Graians must be noticed, ere we quit the quaking 
grounds of parallels. We have pointed out the tendency in the 
Cottians for the principal peaks to rise close to but just off the 
actual watershed. This tendency is much more marked in the 
Central Graians. The Rochemelon (11,605 ft-) — the first 
snov>7 peak in the Alps to be conquered, and that as far back 
as 1358 — is not an instance of this, for, rising just beyond the 
Mont Cenis, and a great pilgrimage resort in summer, its 
summit, though on the watershed, is yet pohtically wholly in 
Italy, this exception having been specially arranged in i860. 
But, more to the N., we have successively the Pointe de Char- 
bonel (12,336 ft.), the loftiest point of the Central Graians, 
and the Albaron (12,015 ft.), both somewhat on the French 
side of the great backbone, while the Ciamarella (12,061 ft.) 
balances them on the Italian side of the great spine. But the 
Bessanese (11,917 ft.) — the Matterhorn of the district — and 



the three summits of the Levanna (11,943 ft.) all rise on the W 
actual main crest. This is the rule more to the N., though fj^f 
there are exceptions, such as the Bee de I'lnvergnan (11,838 ft.) 
and the Tete du Rutor (11,438 ft.), both on the Italian side, 
while the Grande Aiguille Rousse (11,424 ft.) is on the French 
side of the main range. This singular aloofness on the part | 
of great peaks from what one would naturally suppose to be 
their proper position is noticeable in many other parts of the 
Alps, though perhaps not quite to such a marked degree as in 
the Central Graians. 

In quitting the Central Graians let us just remark that the 
famous Mont Iseran, once supposed to attain the height of 
13,271 ft., is as regards position the actual E. peak (11,693 ft.) 
of the Levanna, to which the height of the Grand Paradis has 
been wrongly attributed. The peak now called the Signal du 
Mont Iseran is only 10,634 ft. in height. This strange delusion 
as to a summit that never existed save on paper was finally 
cleared up in 1S59-1860 by the efforts of Messrs. W. Mathews 
and J. J. Cowell, who took the obvious course (neglected, 
however, by their predecessors) of actually exploring the site 
of this supposed giant of the Alpine chain. 

Let us now look for a moment at the two great wings of the 
Central Graians, which, after all, contain the loftiest summits of 
the region. That to the W. is best called the Western Graians^ 
and is wholly (since i860) in France, forming the division 
between the two Savoyard provinces of the Maurienne (Arc valley) 
and the Tarentaise (upper Isere valley). It culminates in the 
fine peak of the Grande Casse (12,668 ft.), though even grander 
is the second in height, the glorious Mont Pourri (12,428 ft.) 
— so well seen from the Col du Bonhomme — while number 
three, the Dent Parrachee (12,179 ^t.), is not far behind. 
There are a number of other peaks, easy of access and command- 
ing most wonderful panoramas, for the position of the Western ^ 
Graians between the Dauphine, the Pennine, and the Eastern 
Graian Alps, naturally makes even its minor summits into ;J 
belvederes of the first order. In the new edition (1898) of Mr. 
John Ball's Western Alps, the present writer, recollecting at 


every step the marvellous views which he had enjoyed from 
point after point in the Western Graians, praised up peak after 
peak, without considering that this monotonous series of recom- 
mendations would amaze those who had not had his good 
fortune. That this was so, but that the praise was really well 
merited, is shown by the following friendly quiz by an English 
climber, when speaking of the view from the Dent Parrachee : 
' The peak afforded a grand view, though, indeed, in every descrip- 
tion of these peaks this may be taken for granted ; in looking 
through " Ball " we were at first amused to read of apparently each 
peak that it commanded a marvellous panorama, or that the 
panorama was one of the most splendid in the Graians, or some 
similar phrase, but certainly the writer was justified.' Another 
advantage of the Western Graians is the way in which the district 
often recalls Switzerland, and affords a grateful relief to the eyes of 
a traveller who, as is so often the case, has just come from the 
belles horreurs of the Dauphine Alps. The glaciers spread 
out widely without fear of taking up too much room — so those 
of the Vanoise, of Gebroulaz, of the Grande Motte, and of 
Gurra. This alone marks them off from the generally contorted 
and half-ashamed little riven glaciers that are so common in 
Dauphine. As the slopes below the Western Graian glaciers 
are less arid and steep than in Dauphine, they aff"ord much 
finer pastures for cattle {the Provencal sheep of Dauphine are 
totally absent), while the herdsmen's huts are better, and the 
herdsmen and cheesemakers themselves often Swiss, generally 
from the Canton of Fribourg. Of late years the Alpine inns 
in the Western Graians have greatly improved, and in this 
respect the district is more Swiss-like than perhaps any other 
in the Alps S. of Mont Blanc. 

In the Eastern Graians (these are wholly within Italy) the 
accommodation has also been improved, though not nearly to 
so great a degree as farther west. The reason for this apparent 
backwardness is not far to seek. The Eastern Graians, even 
more than the Maritimes, are the hunting-grounds of the kings 
of Italy, the game is very strictly preserved by a small army of 
gamekeepers, and the excellent mule paths constructed to various 


points can only be used by travellers when the king is not 
hunting in the neighbourhood ; in short, it is not wished that 
travellers should visit this region in any great numbers. When 
one inquires why the kings of Italy are so intent on keeping 
this magnificent district more or less to themselves, we find 
that it is because it is the last refuge in the Alps of the Bouquetin 
or Steinbock, {Capra ibex), a strange animal, which resembles 
the chamois in many points, though zoologically quite distinct. 
There are said to be about three hundred bouquetins still in the 
Eastern Graians, which are often called the Mountains of Cogne, 
as the village of that name is the natural headquarters both of 
the king and of the comparatively few travellers who venture 
to intrude into these carefully guarded glens. Of course the 
chamois are preserved as well as the bouquetins, so that they 
multiply to an extraordinary extent, while they are not at all 
shy of the human beings who may check their steps in order 
to watch these graceful animals (the bouquetin is a much more 
clumsy-looking beast). On one occasion the writer counted 
in a single herd of chamois up to seventy, and then gave it up, 
as there were so many more. Possibly the culminating point 
of the district, the Grand Paradis (13,324 ft.), takes its name 
from being a sort of ' Gemsenfreiheit,' though this would not 
apply to the other great peaks, the Grivola (13,022 ft.), the 
Mont Herbetet (12,396 ft.), and the Tour du Grand St. Pierre 
(12,113 ft). If one is an epicure, one may by a piece of good 
fortune be able to taste the flesh of a bouquetin (like insipid 
veal) as a curiosity, for the king often offers it to the hotel 
guests, reserving the horns for himself. If any of our 
readers be a votary of the chase, he will sympathise with 
the feelings of wild despair with which one of the writer's 
Oberland guides (a great Nimrod in his own land) gazed 
helplessly, without a rifle, at the bouquetins and chamois comino- 
forth from behind every stone in the glen where we were. That 
night he dreamed that he pursued, on foot, one of these wonder- 
ful bouquetins, caught him, vaulted on his back, and rode in 
triumph to Grindelwald, seated on the back of this original kind 
of steed. The writer himself, being an epicure and a hunter 



only as regards mountain summits, prefers to recall the glorious 
views to be had from the Cogne peaks towards the Pennines, 
and especially, in the case of those on the E. edge of the dis- 
trict, over the Piedmontese plain and in the direction of Turin. 
But one of the most singular experiences in the Alps that ever 
befell him was to spend several hours sliding about on the 
frozen surface of the quaint little lake that forms the very 
summit of the Roccia Viva (11,976 ft.). As the higher summits 
are some way off, the low snow barrier that guards this tarn 
effectually prevents any one from witnessing this ' winter sport ' 
that may be practised in the heart of summer. But a question 
that does not seem to have yet been answered is how was this 
lakelet (that never melts) originally formed in its present crater- 
like hollow on the very tip of a lofty Alpine peak ? 

5. Chain of Mont Blanc. — In our progress northwards from 
Col de Tenda one huge range has loomed ever nearer and 
nearer on the horizon, like a vast rampart of black rock and 
glittering snow or ice, towering high up against the azure sky. 
It is really only when seen from the S. and at some distance 
away (best from the Western Graians or the more northerly 
summits of the Dauphine Alps) that its true grandeur, majesty, 
and immensity can be properly appreciated. Precipitous, of 
gigantic height, streaming with crevassed glaciers, surpassing in 
height everything else that is visible, the chain of Mont Blanc, 
when seen from the S. on a glorious summer's day, is a sight 
that can never be forgotten, and which, once seen, leaves the 
keen desire to be thus privileged once again. On the map, 
indeed, this great mass, limited by the Col de la Seigne and the 
Col Ferret (831 1 ft.), does not take up much room, and in 
point of mere length and breadth must yield to the Cottians 
and the Graians. But when we come to study it more in detail 
we find that in many respects it surpasses both these ranges. 
True it is that in the matter of continuous height it is inferior 
to the Eastern Pennines. Yet if we skim over it from the Mont 
Tondu (10.486 ft.), at its S.W. extremity, to the Pointe d'Orny 
(10,742 ft.), at its N.E. end, we discover that the main watershed 


falls only in a few very rare cases below a level of ii,ooo 
ft., an elevation superior to that of the loftiest summits in more 
than one of our twenty mountain groups. Hence the glacier 
passes across this great barrier are extremely high (the Col 
de la Brenva, 14,217 ft., is only surpassed by four passes in the 
Eastern Pennines), and in many cases are not at all easy, the 
most frequented being that which pierces the very heart of the 
chain, the Col du Geant (11,060 ft.), the early history of which 
was sketched in Chapter ix. above. 

It is this continuous great average elevation that has caused 
this range to be usually named the ' chain ' of Mont Blanc, 
rather than the 'range' of Mont Blanc, for the summits are 
bound together as scarcely anywhere else in the Alps. Strictly 
speaking, the district forms the 'Western Pennines,' a name 
hardly ever used, though it explains the terms ' Central ' and 
' Eastern Pennines,' commonly applied to those rising between 
it and the Simplon : the name ' Pennines ' is, of course, taken 
from the title ' Summus Penninus' given by the Romans to 
the Great St. Bernard, the great pass of the entire region. 

Yet, while the chain of Mont Blanc thus forms such a com- 
plete unity in itself, it has the singular fate of at present belonging 
to no fewer than three different nations, a very exceptional 
case, though, of course, many ranges owe allegiance to two 
sovereigns. As explained in detail in Chapter vii., this three- 
fold division is due to a series of historical accidents. Originally 
belonging in its entirety to the House of Savoy, that dynasty 
lost the N.E. bit of the chain in 1475-6 to the Vallaisans (hence 
to-day this is Swiss), while in i860 it ceded the whole Savoyard 
slope with, it is held, the actual summit of Mont Blanc, to 
France. This partition is, however, less artificial than it seems 
to be at first sight, though it does not appear that the political 
geography was made intentionally to follow the physical 
tocography. It is at any rate remarkable that the waters which 
flow from the range directly to the Rhone are politically Swiss, 
while those that unite to form the Dora Baltea (an affluent of the 
Po) are Itahan ; but by far the greatest amount swell the Arve, 
and, to a shght extent, the Isere, and are French, as the Arve, 


near Geneva, joins the Rhone, so that that great river receives 
most of what is technically called the drainage of the range — a 
curious connection between water and politics. The three 
frontiers meet on the summit of the Mont Dolent (12,543 ft.), 
which thus enjoys the distinction of being in three countries. 

We have hitherto taken it for granted that our readers are 
well aware that our chain contains the highest peak in the 
Alps, INIont Blanc (15,782 ft.) itself. It is indeed the 'White 
Mountain ' above all others, though that name is not known to 
occur actually in a printed document earlier than 1742, despite 
the strong probability that some such general term was applied 
to it long before by the inhabitants of the valley of Chamonix at 
its very foot. Yet though the name in its French form is always 
recognised, it is a source of innocent amusement to speak of 
the summit by its translated name, and to see how many of 
the company will, without a little thought, grasp what mountain 
is really meant. Though Mont Blanc is higher than Monte 
Rosa (15,217 ft.), it is equally true that the whole range of Monte 
Rosa is loftier than the chain of Mont Blanc. If we exclude 
Mont Blanc and its immediate satellites from consideration, it 
will be found that the summits of the range next in order of 
elevation are the Grandes Jorasses (13,797 ft.) and the Aiguille 
Verte (13,541 ft.). But in the case of Monte Rosa there are 
quite a number of summits other than its ten or eleven peaks, 
and taking in only the Eastern Pennines, which exceed or 
approach 14,000 ft. One result of this fact is that Mont Blanc, 
flanked by its immediate attendants, soars far higher into the 
air than does Monte Rosa, and is thus far more imposing when 
seen from a distance. In speaking of Mont Blanc one thinks 
instinctively of the peak itself, whereas in the case of Monte 
Rosa one sees a great wall crowned by a number of summits 
differing but little in point of elevation. Both are superb sights 
in their several ways, and tastes will always differ as to which 
is really the most impressive. Another result is that the Alpine 
history of Mont Blanc is far shorter than that of Monte Rosa, 
its spurs being gained on the way to the culminating point, 
while the lower peaks of Monte Rosa were climbed as ends in 



themselves. Of course, as we pointed out in Chapter ix., the 
history of the attempts on Mont Blanc form the commencement 
of the history of the true conquest of the Alps, for while the 
loftiest tip of Mont Blanc was attained in 1786, that of Monte 
Rosa awaited man's enterprise till 1855. 

Next after the Monarch himself the most notable feature in 
the chain is the huge and deeply sunk glaciers that flow down 
from it in every direction. Though surpassed as to length by 
at least three glaciers in the Bernese Oberland, and only able 
to tie (nine and a quarter miles in length) with the Corner 
glacier, at Zermatt, the great stream of ice that is named in 
different portions of its course the Ceant, the Tacul, and the 
Bois glaciers, and the ' Mer de Clace,' is one of the best-known 
glaciers in the Alps. Was it not the glacier which was most 
visited by the early visitors to Chamonix? Was it not over 
this glacier that the long-lost route led to Courmayeur by the 
Col du Geant? Was it not on this glacier that Forbes in 1842 
and Tyndall in 1857 carried out their experiments as to the 
causes of glacier motion and glacial phenomena in general, 
observations that cast into the shade those made rather earlier 
by Hugi, Agassiz, and Desor on the Unteraar glacier in the 
Bernese Oberland ? The next longest glacier in the chain is the 
beautiful one of Argentiere (six and a half miles). But why try to 
cramp our admiration to mere size ? Few glaciers can attempt 
to rival, simply from the picturesque point of view, the great 
French streams of Tour and Bossons and Taconnaz and Bion- 
nassay and Miage and Trelatete, or the Italian glaciers of Miage, 
of Brouillard, of Fresnay, of Brenva (the most magnificent of all), 
and of Triolet. Nor are the Swiss glaciers of Saleinaz and Orny 
and Trient very far behind. 

More characteristic of our chain are the strangely splintered 
pinnacles of weathered protogine granite that bear the name of 
'Aiguilles.' There are many summits in the range that bear 
this name, so rarely found elsewhere. But '■the Chamonix 
Aiguilles ' are seven rock needles which rise in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Chamonix, five clustered together, one (the 
Dru) a little way off, and another (the Geant) farther away, but 


very visible from the Montenvers Hotel. It is not their height 
which distinguishes them from other summits of the chain, for 
with one exception they do not exceed 13,000 ft., while three 
others hardly surpass 1 1,000 ft. But height is little in comparison 
with grim aspect and apparent inaccessibility. One (the Midi, 
12,609 ft.), the easiest of all, was climbed as far back as 1856. 
But all the rest were not vanquished till very much later, and 
in each case by valiant Englishmen, the triumphs in several 
cases being amongst the finest exploits ever achieved in the 
Alps. Here is the list in order of date — the Plan (12,051 ft.), 
in 1871; the Blaitiere (11,549 ft.), in 1874; the Grand Dru 
(12,320 ft.), in 1878; finally the Grands Charmoz (11,293 ft.), 
the Grepon (11,447 ft.), and the Geant (13,170 ft.), in three 
successive years, 1880, 1881, and 1882. The present writer 
has not visited Chamonix since 1876, when the four last-named 
Aiguilles were thought to be quite inaccessible, impossible, 
unclimbable, etc., the ascent of the Blaitiere being then held 
to mark the high-water-mark of modern climbing. He can 
thus appreciate better than many the old feeling of respect 
and awe that surrounded these gaunt pinnacles, though now- 
adays that feeling seems to have vanished. As the lines 
are being written it is announced that an extremely active 
English climber, on one summer's day in 1906, cHmbed succes- 
sively the Charmoz, the Grepon, and both summits of the 
Blaitiere, the time taken from the Montenvers Hotel and 
back being not quite sixteen and a half hours — halts of three 
hours being included. How are the mighty fallen ! 

6. Central Pennine Alps. — At last ! some of our readers may 
cry, at last ! we come to a region which we really know and love. 
We do not like Chamonix and the Mont Blanc chain very much. 
But now we come to the delightful summer haunts that abound 
in that pearl of the Alps, the Swiss Canton of the Vallais. Other 
readers of these pages, not unwilling to show that their know- 
ledge is a little more extensive, may adopt for this district the 
name of 'The Alpine Midlands,' as it lies between those two 
great 'centres,' Chamonix and Zermatt. But the use of this 


name rather implies that the speaker beUeves in his heart of 
hearts that there are really no other mountains (save perhaps 
those of the Bernese Oberland) which are worth considering. 
Now one object of this book is to show that, while the Pennines 
(Western, Central, or Eastern) undoubtedly rank first in the 
Alps, in point of elevation and extent of perpetual snow, there 
are many other mountains well worth visiting, while, be it said 
under one's breath, they are in some cases more beautiful and 
charming than the much-vaunted Pennines. 

However this may be, let us now study our new district. Its 
W. limit is the Col Ferret, but only a few summits, the chief 
being the Grand GoUiaz (10,630 ft.), are covered by everlasting 
snow, till we reach the famous pass of the Great St. Bernard 
(81 1 1 ft.). That pass, therefore, is the real W. limit of our 
region, which extends thence to the St. Theodule Pass (10,899 
ft.), that divides it from the Eastern Pennines. There is no 
need to dwell on the history of the Great St. Bernard, so full of 
interest in every way, beyond remarking that it is one of the oldest 
passes known to have been utilised, the Roman name of 'Summus 
Penninus,' or ' Mons Jovis,' having gradually been superseded by 
that of the second founder of the Hospice, St. Bernard of Menthon, 
who died about 1081. The good deeds of the Austin Canons 
(who have served it perhaps from 1154, certainly from 12 15) 
are renowned throughout the world, while their faithful dogs 
are scarcely less famous. Contrary to what is often believed, 
ecclesiastics do not always lag far behind the times. Witness 
the energy of the present occupants of the Hospice, who in 
1906 sent some of their members down to Martigny to be 
instructed in the art of driving a motor-car, in which they 
triumphantly returned to their mountain home, while, so it is 
said — but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating — this 
motor-car, furnished with runners, is to be sent out in winter 
from the Hospice to search for travellers overtaken by storms. 
Can anything more ' modern ' be imagined ? 

A glance at a map of our district reveals at once two singular ^ 
features which mark it off from other regions. One is that from 
quite near the Hospice eastwards the main ridge is not traversed 


by a single non-glacier pass. It is true that the Col de Fenetre 
(9141 ft.) is a very mild and anodyne kind of glacier pass, while 
the Col de CoUon (10,270 ft.) and the St. Theodule itself (10,899 
ft), despite its height, are not difficult from a modern standpoint. 
These three passes have been known and traversed by local folk 
for many centuries, certainly from the first half of the sixteenth 
century, beyond which our records are very scanty. Hence 
communications between the valley of Aosta and the Vallais 
were by no means arduous, though, of course, the Great St. 
Bernard, with its Hospice and Canons, offered special con- 
veniences and advantages. The other notable feature of the 
region is the odd arrangement of the valleys that are included 
in it. On the S. slope there is but one considerable glen, that 
of Valpelline, apart from the Val Tournanche, which belongs to 
the Eastern Pennines as much as to the Central Pennines. 
Now the Valpelline, though it can boast of fine scenery, has 
never been a favourite with English travellers, so that its 
exploration has been mainly carried out by Italians, despite the 
fact that an Irishman, Mr. Adams-Reilly, in 1865-6, constructed 
an excellent map of the glen, based on his personal observations. 
The glen of St. Rhemy, leading up to the Great St. Bernard, is 
a tributary of the Valpelline, while that of St. Barthelemy, though 
not properly a tributary, is yet thrust up into the hills that rise 
between the Valpelline and the Val Tournanche. Now if we 
look at the N. slope of our districts we shall find things very 
different in this matter of valleys. On that side, between the 
Val d'Entremont and the Zermatt valley (reckoning neither in 
our list) there are three or four glens of very considerable length 
and size — the Val de Bagnes, the Val d'Herens (with its side 
glens of Heremence, Arolla, and Ferpecle), the Val d'Anniviers 
(with its tributary, the Val de Moiry), and the Turtmann valley. 
The Nendaz valley stands to the Val de Bagnes and the Val 
d'He'rens in somewhat the same relation as the Val St. Bar- 
thelemy does to the Valpelline and the Val Tournanche — it is 
thrust up into the mountains between them, but does not quite 
attain the great divide, being, as it were, held back by its two 
neighbours. The same remark may be made as to the Turt- 


mann valley, with a change in the names of its opponents, but 
this glen is the least important of all, for it contains no per- 
manently inhabited village, and is occupied only by cows and 
herdsmen during the summer months. On the other hand, 
the valleys of Bagnes, of Kerens, and of Anniviers have most 
interesting local histories, which those persons might well study 
in winter who frequent them in summer. One of the quaintest 
facts in this local history is the fashion in which different bits of 
the same valley were held by different lords. One would natur- 
ally imagine that each valley would in its entirety belong to one 
feudal lord, even though other personages might own lands 
therein. But it would almost be truer, in these as in other 
cases, to assert the contrary. The oddest of all is perhaps the 
Val de Bagnes. Originally this belonged to the House of Savoy, 
which also held the Val d'Aosta and the Lower Vallais. But in 
1 150 the Count gave the lower portion of the valley to the 
Austin Canons of St. Maurice, in the Vallais, who held it till 
1798. Again, in 1252, the upper half of the valley was made 
over by Savoy to the lords of Quart, in the Val d'Aosta. Thus 
the valley 'looked towards' two very different lords. As the 
pastures at the head of the glen, those of Chermontane, are 
remarkably fine, they were leased out by the lords of Quart (we 
hear of such a lease as early as 1398), but the men of the lower 
half, filled with jealousy at this occupation of rich meadows that 
naturally ought to have belonged to them, often attacked the 
Aostan herdsmen. The division between the two halves was 
drawn at the bridge, below the Mauvoisin Hotel, for long known 
(even as late as 1694) as the ' Pont de Quart,' though now com- 
monly called the ' Pont de Mauvoisin.' Some writers hold, 
however, that the true ' Pont de Quart ' was rather higher up 
the valley, and led from the Chermontane huts to those of 

Yet these valleys on the N. slope of the watershed, so well 
known to summer travellers to-day, were first explored in the 
thirties and forties of the nineteenth century, when it was 
thought quite a feat to visit Evolena, or Arolla (no inn then), 
or Zinal : it was almost as necessary to write a book or article 
















as to such a daring expedition as it was in the case of the ascent 
of Mont Blanc. Naturally, too, the high peaks of the region 
received no attention, although the principal passes close beneath 
were well known and even frequented. In the western portion 
of the region, the Grand Combin (14,164 ft.) is the culminating 
point, and shares with the Finsteraarhorn (14,026 ft.), in the 
Bernese Oberland, the honour of being the only Alpine summit 
over 14,000 ft. that rises outside the Mont Blanc chain and the 
immediate neighbourhood of Zermatt : in the eastern portion of 
the district, it is, of course, surpassed by the Weisshorn (14,804 ft.), 
the Matterhorn (14,782 ft.), and the Dent Blanche (i4j3i8 ft.). 
These three giants were conquered, in each case by EngHshmen, 
in 1861, 1865, and 1862 respectively. But the Grand Combin 
had only been vanquished in 1859, and then by a celebrated 
French geologist, M. Ch. Sainte-Claire-Deville, though its 
neighbour, the Mont Velan (12,353 ft.), had been overcome 
as far back as 1779. The actual name ' Kumben ' occurs as 
early as 1550 in Sebastian Miinster's Cosmographia Ufiiversalis, 
where it seems to indicate the Col de Fenetre or the Col Ferret. 
But, as far as the present writer is aware, the form ' Combin ' 
does not appear till 1804, in Ebel's Guide-book. On many 
maps of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries we find indi- 
cated in large letters, and placed between the Great St. Bernard 
and the Monte Rosa group, a mysterious 'Mont Coupeline,' 
which is certainly meant for our peak. Most of these maps 
place it at the head of the Valpelline, so that the name is 
probably an instance of 'conflation,' and formed by a fusion 
of 'Valpelline,' 'Col' (indicating either the Col de CoUon or 
the Col de Fenetre), and ' Combin.' Another form sometimes 
found, ' Mont Colomb,' is probably intended to indicate the 
Mont CoUon (11,956 ft.), that makes such a show from Arolla, 
and those pastures were utilised already in 1442, while at 
the end of the thirteenth century we hear of Arolla as the 
haunt of bears and of chamois, which probably deterred any 
cattle from coming up thither. Is there any need to speak of 
modern Arolla, and Evolena, and Zinal? The writer can 
recollect his first visit to Zinal in 1869, when there was but a 


single inn, the Hotel Durand, which had four tiny bedrooms 
only, all opening into a small central dining-room. In 1870 
things were not much better, even at Evolena, while he will 
never forget the horrors of a week snow-bound at Arolla in 
1887. In 1870 Gruben, in the Turtmann valley, was delight- 
fully simple. In all these cases comparatively few years had 
elapsed since tourists had come to any of these spots in 
sufficient numbers to make it desirable to cater for them 
specially. But in 1887 Zinal was already spoilt, in the eyes of 
the present writer, who obtained the last bed at his old inn, 
found that inn pervaded by a school of young girls, and the 
scene of noisy rejoicings. Let us, however, turn our thoughts 
from such desecration of Alpine glens, and utter as our last words 
a word of warning to our readers not to place any credence in 
the absurd and wild theory, a veritable mare's nest, that the 
Zinal valley was once peopled by Huns. Authentic history 
shows that, like that of Herens, it was colonised from the 
Vallais, the so-called Hunnish characteristics being simply due 
to backwardness on the part of the inhabitants to enter upon 
the march towards modern civilisation. 

7. Eastern Pennine Alps. — The most easterly group in the 
whole of the Western Alps is also that which boasts of the 
greatest continuous elevation in the entire chain. Mont Blanc 
itself, of course, surpasses any single peak in the Eastern 
Pennines, but, as we pointed out above in Section 5, if we put 
aside that mighty summit, with its immediate satellites, the 
height of the Mont Blanc chain is far inferior to that of the 
mass of Monte Rosa. Take any large scale map of our region, 
which extends from the St. Theodule to the Simplon Pass 
(6592 ft.), and study it with some attention. Very soon after 
leaving the St. Theodule on our journey eastwards we come to 
the Zermatt Breithorn, which attains an elevation of 13,685 ft., 
and is thus only 112 ft. lower than the Grandes Jorasses, the 
loftiest summit in the chain of Mont Blanc next after the 
Monarch and his attendants. From the Breithorn onwards 
the height all but steadily increases through the Twins (Castor 


is 13,879 ft., though Pollux is but 13,433 ft.) and the Lyskamm 
(14,889 ft.) to the five highest peaks of Monte Rosa, the loftiest 
of which, the Dufourspitze, is 15,217 ft., while the lowest is 
still 14,965 ft. in altitude, the other five peaks of Monte Rosa 
being merely snow-humps on or near the watershed. N. of 
Monte Rosa there is a great fall to the wide opening over which 
lead the various passes called 'Weissthor' or 'Porte Blanche,' 
a most appropriate name for this great gate open towards Italy. 
Near the Strahlhorn the main ridge bears away E. to rise soon 
again in the range that bounds the valley of Saas on the E., and 
which is comparatively quite low, for its culminating points are 
the Weissmies, the Laquinhorn, and the Rossbodenhorn, which 
are not able to rise respectively above 13,226 ft., 13,140 ft., and 
13,128 ft., a great drop indeed from the height to which we have 
become accustomed since leaving the St. Theodule. But from 
the Strahlhorn northwards the range, though technically but a 
lofty spur, rising between the valleys of Zermatt and of Saas, 
is the true continuation of the mighty group of Monte Rosa. 
From the Strahlhorn (13,751 ft.) we rise to the Rimpfischhorn 
(13,790 ft.), descend slightly to the AUalinhorn (13,236 ft.), 
rise again to the Alphubel (13,803 ft.), and so ever upwards to 
the Taschhorn (14,758 ft.) and the Dom (14,942 ft.), the loftiest 
summits of the Mischabel group. Then comes the great drop, 
though a gradual one, through the Nadelhorn (14,220 ft.) and 
the Ulrichshorn (12,891 ft.) to the Balfrin (12,474 ft.), which 
makes such a show from Visp, where the traveller embarks in 
the railway for Zermatt. The same phenomenon of exceeding 
great continuous height is naturally very well marked in the case 
of the passes that cross this huge range. From the Zermatt 
Breithorn right round to the Balfrin, not a single pass falls 
below 11,400 ft. Most considerably exceed the height, pro- 
digious for a 'pass,' of 12,000 ft., while of the seven loftiest 
passes (all over 14,000 ft.) in the Alps no fewer than six (see 
our list in Appendix i.) are situated in our region — the highest 
elsewhere, the Col de la Brenva (14,217 ft.), in the chain of 
Mont Blanc, occupying but the fifth rank. The highest of all 
the seven is, of course, the Silbersattel (14,732 ft., not many 


peaks in the Alps are higher), between the two loftiest summits 
of Monte Rosa, while the lowest is the Lysjoch, which merely 
attains 14,033 ft. : all the seven are situated in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Monte Rosa, save the Brenva (see above) ' 
and the Domjoch (14,062 ft.), which lies between the two 
culminating summits of the Mischabel range. 

Here we pause to clear up two points which are often mis- f; 
understood. We sometimes read of enthusiastic dithyrambs 3 
on the subject of the marvellous fehcity of the name ' Monte 9 
Rosa,' whether explained with reference to the roseate tints 
of dawn which first illumine its crest (but then what about 
the still higher Mont Blanc or the ' White Mountain ' ?), or 
to the symmetrical arrangement of its nine or ten summits, like 
the petals of a rose (but a glance at a map will show that there 
is a great break in this lovely circle). As a matter of fact, the 
name simply comes from an old word of the Aostan dialect, 
variously written ' reuse,' ' roisa,' ' roesa,' or ' ruise ' (the actual 
form 'rosa' is used in 1574 by Simler, and in 1596 in a I 
document relating to the glacier Rutor lake), which simply 
means a 'glacier.' Thus, just as the St. Theodule Pass (see 
Chapter iii.) is called ' The Glacier,' so the culminating point of 
' The Glacier ' has to this day retained the name of ' Monte 
Rosa,' otherwise ' The Glacier Mountain ' : it will be recollected 
that the learned name for glaciers was formerly 'montes 
glaciales.' It is a pity, in a way, to destroy a picturesque 
legend, but it is rare to be able to kill a myth as effectually 
as in this case. 

The doubtful point is that the Dom (14,942 ft.) is 'the 
highest mountain in Switzerland.' Now if by ' mountain ' we 
mean an independent peak, rising more or less alone, this ^ 
statement is true. But if, as is more usually the case, we fl 
understand by the term 'mountain' some one particular | 
' summit,' then this statement is not even a half-truth, for the ' H 
Dufourspitze of Monte Rosa (15,217 ft.) rises wholly within (i 
Switzerland, being situated on a spur that projects west from r, 
the main watershed and political frontier. Hence it was but l; 
fitting that the loftiest Swiss peak should be christened (in 'i 


1863) after General Dufour (i 787-1875), under whose superin- 
tendence the remarkable map survey of Switzerland had been 
carried out. 

Now when tracing out in Chapter ix. the history of the early 
exploration of Monte Rosa, we laid stress on the fact that the 
first conquest of its highest summit was one of the first 
exploits of the small band of Englishmen, who had seriously 
taken up, though rather late in the day, the task of climbing 
all the highest peaks of the Alps. Enghsh travellers began to 
come to Zermatt in the early fifties, but it was not till the 
Rifielberg inn (now called the Riffelhaus inn) was opened in 
1S54 that expeditions in the range became easy, and therefore 
that the first serious attack on Monte Rosa was made in 1854. 
This first success led the way to others, and so it came to pass 
that, with the exception of certain minor summits of Monte 
Rosa (visited from 1801 to 1842) and of the peaks on either 
side of the St. Theodule (the Theodulhorn and Little Matter- 
horn climbed by Saussure in 1792, and the Breithorn by 
Monsieur Maynard in 1813), all but three or four of the 
higher peaks around Zermatt, whether in the Central or in 
the Eastern Pennines, were first ascended by EngUshmen, and 
that between the dates of 1854 and 1865. Here is the 
list, which proves how strongly Englishmen were early 
attracted to this valley, and explains why so many have since 
loved it so heartily — 1854, Strahlhorn ; 1855, Monte Rosa; 
1856, Allalinhorn ; 1858, Dom ; 1859, Rimpfischhorn ; i860, 
Alphubel; 1861, Nord End of Monte Rosa, Weisshorn, 
Lyskamm, and Castor; 1862, Taschhorn and Dent Blanche; 
1863, Dent d'Herens and Balfrin; 1864, Zinal Rothhorn; and 
1865, Ober Gabelhorn and — the Matterhorn. If, however, 
we look at the higher points of the range on the other side of 
the Saas valley, we find that English successes are limited to 
the Laquinhorn in 1856 and the Portjengrat in 1871. Still, 
English climbers need not complain, and Zermatt certainly 
became the second home of the Alpine Club, if Chamonix (or 
rather St. Gervais) was really its cradle. 

Another very interesting point as to the Eastern Pennines 


concerns the race to which its early inhabitants belonged. 
It is well known that the Zermatt valley was originally inhabited 
by a Romance-speaking race (hence the names ' Praborgne ' 
for Zermatt, and ' Chouson ' for St. Niklaus), which was later 
(probably in the fifteenth century) overlaid and absorbed by 
a Teutonic race, swarming down from the German-speaking 
Upper Vallais — the name ' Pratoborno ' is found as late as 
1450, while that of ' Matt ' occurs on the first Swiss map (that 
of Konrad Tiirst), dated 1495-7. The full form 'Zermatt' 
seems to occur first on Antoine Lambien's map of the Vallais 
(1682), and occurs again in maps of 1712, 1756, 1760, and 
1762, though it did not supersede other forms till after 
Saussure's visit of 1789. Again, at the heads of several of 
the valleys situated on the S. and E. of the range stretching 
from the St. Theodule to the Monte Moro, there still exist 
colonies of German-speaking folk, who, at some unknown date 
(perhaps as early as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries), came 
over (it would be interesting to know if they crossed the 
St. Theodule or the Monte Moro) from their home in the 
Vallais, for the dialect still spoken at Gressoney (Val de Lys), 
Alagna (Val Sesia), and Macugnaga (Val Anzasca) is certainly 
of Vallaisan origin. As a matter of fact, it is certain that about 
1250 Macugnaga was really colonised from the Saas valley 
while Italian-speaking folk emigrated between 1261 and 1291 
from the lower Val Anzasca across the Monte Moro to 
the Saas valley, though later, as in the case of the Zermatt 
valley, they were absorbed by a Teutonic population coming 
from the Upper Vallais. Hence, while the Anza stream is 
still called the ' Visp,' the predecessors of the present Teutonic 
names of Balen were ' Aballa ' ; of Almagell, ' Armenzello ' ; of 
Saas itself, ' Soxa' or 'Sausa,' At one time it was currently be- 
lieved that some of these names were of Arabic origin, and due 
to the presence of a colony of Saracens, as shown by the ' Al ' 
in ' Allalin ' and ' Almagell.' The theory was tempting at first 
sight, and greatly attracted the present writer. But when he 
came to look into the authentic mediaeval documents relating 
to the valley, he renounced it at once, as Italian influence was 


plainly responsible for these names, though in every case it is 
not now easy to detect it in the Teutonised form commonly 

Thus the Eastern Pennines rank among the most interesting 
districts of the Alps, whether from the linguistic and racial 
point of view, or from that of Alpine history, while it is certain 
that no other Alpine region maintains so great a continuous 
elevation. It appears hence that great height does not 
necessarily mean a desolate region, but is compatible with 
many ethnological and linguistic peculiarities that are a marked 
feature in the region even at the present day. 

II. — Central Alps 

8. Bernese Alps. — What do we mean precisely by the term 
'Bernese Oberland' or the 'Bernese Alps'? Most of our 
readers will probably reply : ' Oh ! the valleys of Lauterbrunnen, 
of Grindelwald, and of Hasle ' ; in other words, the region in 
the neighbourhood of Interlaken, and of the Lakes of Thun 
and of Brienz. No doubt this district is strictly the ' Ober- 
land ' or ' Highlands ' of the canton of Berne. But historically 
we must also include in the ' Bernese Oberland ' the valleys 
of the Kander and of the Simme, and even the upper reach 
of the valley of the Sarine or Saane, for, as shown in Chapter 
VII., all these were gradually added to the wide domains of 
the town of Berne. Topographically we must cast our net 
even more widely, for the Dent de Morcles and the Grand 
Muveran and the Diablerets, all looking towards the Lake of 
Geneva, are, on the S.W., the natural continuation of the 
'Bernese Oberland,' as, on the N.E., is the Uri Rothstock, 
above the Lake of Lucerne, not to speak of the Titlis and the 
Damm.astock districts. Thus, from a topographical point of 
view, we include under the name of the ' Bernese Oberland ' 
the entire mountain country situated N. of the upper valley of the 
Rhone and W. of that of the Reuss, and extending from the 
shores of the Lake of Geneva to those of the Lake of Lucerne. 
It is linked by the Furka Pass (7992 ft.) to the Lepontines, 


which continue the Pennines and the main watershed of the 
Alps towards the E. Thus the Bernese Oberland, in our 
sense of the term, is a huge outHer of the principal chain, just 
as are the Dauphine Alps, neither being on the great divide, 
a circumstance that has greatly affected the course of their 
history in either case (see Chapter vii.). 

Hence the whole region is Swiss. But a moment's thought 
will show parts of it belong to Cantons other than that of 
Berne. The entire S. slope is, and always has been, Vallaisan. 
Portions of the W. wing (that is, W. of the Gemmi) are in the 
Cantons of Vaud and of Fribourg, though historically much 
that is now in Vaud did actually belong (till 1798) to Berne by 
virtue of its conquest (1475) of the district of Aigle from Savoy, 
and of its division, with Fribourg, of the domains of the last 
Count of the Gruyere (1555). Similarly in the case of the E. 
wing (E. of the Grimsel Pass), we find that the Cantons of Uri, 
and Unterwalden, and Lucerne all hold bits of the 'Bernese 
Oberland,' and these bits have never at any time belonged 
politically to Berne. Hence, strictly speaking, our general name 
is inaccurate as regards both wings, and must be understood in 
a topographical sense only. 

Further, on examining a large-scale map, we find that many 
lofty summits which rise within the limits of the 'narrow 
Bernese Oberland' (from the Gemmi to the Grimsel) are 
wholly or partially Vallaisan. Thus such typical Oberland 
summits as the Aletschhorn (the second in elevation), the 
Gross Nesthorn, and the Bietschhorn all rise on the Vallais side 
of the watershed, while many other great Oberland peaks are 
on that watershed itself, and so are shared between the Vallais 
and Berne ; such are the Altels, the Balmhorn, the Lauter- 
brunnen Breithorn, the Jungfrau, the Monch, the two Fiescher- 
horner, even the Finsteraarhorn itself (the monarch of the 
group), and the Oberaarhorn. What then is left that is strictly 
Bernese in the ' Bernese Oberland ' ? A good deal, for the 
Oberland is a very extensive region. Completely Bernese 
are all the summits of the Bllimlisalp and Gspaltenhorn group, 
as well as the Silberhorn and the Eiger, together with the 


whole of the mighty Schreckhorn and Wetterhorn ranges, so 
that an anxious inquirer may be soothed by finding that some 
well-known ' Bernese Oberland ' peaks are really and truly 
entitled to the epithet ' Bernese.' The key to this apparent 
confusion is very simple, and is supplied by physical geography. 
All the wholly Vallaisan peaks stand on the S. side of the great 
watershed between the upper Rhone and the upper Aar valleys, 
while all the wholly Bernese summits rise to the N. of that water- 
shed, whether forming detached groups, or (like the Silberhorn 
and the Eiger) being mere spurs or buttresses. 

Therefore, to sum up, the term ' Bernese Oberland ' is wrong 
historically and politically, but is in agreement with physical 
geography, which makes a unity of the entire range from the 
Lake of Geneva to that of Lucerne. The epithet ' Bernese ' 
is due to the predominance of Berne in the Swiss Confederation, 
for its most dangerous rival in this matter, the Vallais, did not 
enter the Confederation till 18 15, while Berne (though the town 
did not, as we have seen in Chapter vii., gain its wide dominions 
till much later) became a member as early as 1353. 

Keeping still to questions of physical geography, let us note 
that the Bernese Alps belong for the most part to the basin of 
the Rhine, for the Aar, the typical river of the region and of 
Switzerland in general, ' collects,' before joining the Rhine, 
both the Sarine and the Reuss, so that its volume at the 
junction is said to exceed considerably that of the Rhine at 
this point in its course. On the other hand, all the streams 
flowing down the S. slope of our range go to swell the Rhone, 
and so ultimately reach the Mediterranean. 

Again, as is usually the case in the Alps, the valleys (though 
not the glaciers) on the S. slope of our range are short and 
steep, indeed mere mountain glens, save the beautiful but 
little-visited Lotschenthal. On the N. slope we have much 
longer and more fertile valleys. The mere names of Plan 
des lies and Les Plans de Frenieres, at one end, and of 
Engelberg (oddly situated politically since 1816 in the 
Obwalden half of Unterwalden, though physically within the 
Nidwalden half), are sufficient proof of this statement. But if 


any scoffer mocks, he has only to think of the upper bit of the 
Sarine valley (with Saanen, Gsteig, and Lauenen), or of the 
Simme valley (with Lenk and Zweisimmen), one long series 
of magnificent pastures, or of the main Aar valley, with its 
tributaries of the Kander (Kandersteg and Adelboden) and of 
the Liitschine (Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen), besides the 
main stream itself (with Meiringen and Gadmen). 

Rivers and valleys naturally lead one's thoughts towards 
glaciers. Of these the Bernese Alps have enough and to 
spare, for does not Canton Berne rank third in Switzerland 
with 1 11^ square miles of glaciers? It is also helped con- 
siderably, as to our region, by Canton Vallais, which (including 
of course the main chain S. of the Rhone valley) claims no 
less than 375 square miles of ice (at present we need not 
consider the 138^ square miles belonging to the Grisons), and 
the total snow area in Switzerland is about yogf square miles. 
Then, too, our region can boast of the three longest glaciers in 
the Alps, the Great Aletsch (i6|- miles), the Unteraar and the 
Fiescher (each 10 miles), these being all wholly within the 
Vallais, the longest ' Bernese ' glaciers being the Gauli (8 J 
miles), and the Lower Grindelwald (6} miles). 

Glaciers, valleys, and rivers mean lakes, and what more 
typical Alpine lakes, each in its way, can one find than those 
of Thun, of Oeschinen, of Engstlen, of Lauenen, of Miirjelen, 
of the Grimsel ? 

And if we turn to the ' human interest ' of this portion of 
the Alps, no one can complain of want of variety and of 
movement. The secular struggle between the town of Berne, 
ever bent on extending its rule, with the Vallais, distracted by 
internal struggles, was largely waged on some of the higher 
passes of our region, such as the Grimsel, the Lotschen, and 
the Sanetsch. On a smaller scale, the Austin Canons of 
Interlaken slowly but surely drew the Liitschine valleys into 
their grasp, destined later to find that they had smoothed the 
way for the ambitious town of Berne. The Benedictines of 
Engelberg were more busied with spiritual work, but this had 
to be coupled with the necessity of trying, though fruitlessly, 


to stem the advance of the men of Uri who seized the best 
pastures in their valley. In our region, too, though at its very 
extremity, are Pilatus, with its famed lake (now dried up), and 
its legend of the yearly reappearance of Pontius Pilate, who 
had drowned himself in it. In another order of matters, the 
Riitli, the meadow by the lake, on which the founders of Swiss 
independence met, is in the 'Bernese Oberland,' though, 
happily, the site (Tell's Chapel) of the fond invention of Tell's 
leap is on the other side of the lake. 

If we think of the exploration of the Alps rather than of 
political matters, we find at the two ends of our region two of 
the rare peaks that are known certainly to have been climbed in 
the eighteenth century — the TitHs in i744) and the Dent de 
Morcles in 1788. A little later we have the remarkable journeys 
through the glaciers of the range carried out in 1811-12 by the 
Meyer family, of Aarau, resulting in the opening up of many 
glacier passes, as well as the conquest of two out of the three 
highest summits, the Jungfrau (181 1) and the Finsteraarhorn 
(18 1 2). Still later, we have the scientific observations on the 
Unteraar glacier made by Hugi, by Desor, and by Agassiz, a 
by-product of which was the conquest of several high peaks, 
such as the Ewigschneehorn in 1841, the Gross Lauteraarhorn 
in 1842, the Hasle Jungfrau and the Rosenhorn peaks of the 
Wetterhorn in 1844-5 (^^^ highest, the Mittelhorn, was captured 
by a Scotchman in 1845). In 1857 the first English ascent of 
the Finsteraarhorn played an important part in the preparations 
for the foundation of the Alpine Club, which actually came into 
existence the following winter. A few days previous to the ascent 
last named an Englishman had conquered the Klein Schreckhorn, 
while in the following years his compatriots gathered up most of 
the great Oberland peaks that had not yet felt the foot of man — 
so the Eiger (1858), the Aletschhorn and the Bietschhorn (both 
in 1859), the Bliimlisalphorn and the Oberaarhorn (both in i860), 
the Gross Schreckhorn (1861), the Gross Fiescherhorn (1862), 
the Balmhorn (1864), the Gross Nesthorn (1865), and the 
Gspaltenhorn (1869), besides forcing several difficult glacier 
passes, among which were the Eigerjoch (1859), the Jungfrau- 



joch and the Fiescherjoch (both in 1862), the Wetterliicke and 
the Roththalsattel (both in 1864). 

The Bernese Alps have thus had considerable importance in 
the history of the Alps, and have brought about mightier 
changes and results than might have been expected in the case 
of a range which stands aloof from the main watershed of the 
great chain. 

9. Lepontine Alps. — It was practically convenient to consider 
the Bernese Alps (even though not on the great divide) immedi- 
ately after the Pennines, for the two ranges face each other 
across the upper Rhone valley. But we must now return to the 
main watershed, and resume our tale with a notice of the most 
westerly portion of the main Central Alps — the Lepontine Alps. 
Now these Alps are held to extend from the Simplon to the 
Spliigen Pass (6946 ft.), keeping S. of the Furka Pass (that 
separates them from the Bernese Alps) and of the Oberalp Pass 
(6719 ft., that distinguishes them from the range of the Todi). 
Now the very name of ' Lepontines ' seems to exercise a curious 
effect on the minds of many persons, as it appears to carry a 
flavour of mystery about it, and this is even more the case if one 
speaks of the ' Adula Alps,' the special appellation that is often 
given to the E. half of the chain. Yet this feeling of not being 
on speaking terms with the Lepontines has no real foundation, 
for it often happens that, without suspecting it, these timorous 
travellers actually visit the Lepontines, or gaze on them without 
being aware of it. Practically no wanderer through the Alps has 
never crossed over or burrowed beneath the St. Gotthard Pass 
(6936 ft), which cuts the range into two halves. As his train 
thunders down from Airolo to Bellinzona by that most amazing 
and daring of all railway lines, he may find a minute free to con- 
sult his Guide-book (let 77ie hope that it is a Murray and not a 
Bddeker). It will inform him that the deep-cut valley down 
which he is being whirled is called the ' Val Leventina,' and that 
is but the modern form of the ' Vallis Lepontina.' Hence he is 
really in the heart of the Lepontines, without realising it. Again, 
if when he has ever studied the view towards the South, either 


from the Belalp or from the Eggishorn, he cannot fail to have 
noticed the long mountain-chain immediately in front of him, 
and that is the Lepontines, though possibly he may pay less 
attention to them than to the grander Pennines, to see which, 
however, he must turn his eyes far to the right. 

The Lepontines, therefore, are neither so inaccessible nor so 
rarely to be seen as is not infrequently imagined. But the two 
halves of the chain offer curious contrasts, and hence are some- 
times considered as forming two sections of the Alps. In the W. 
half, one of the first things that strikes one is that the tendency 
so marked in the case of the Bernese Alps, that the glens on its 
S. slope should be short and steep, is reproduced as regards the 
N. slope of the Lepontines. Between the Simplon and the St. 
Gotthard there is but a single glen of any extent on that slope, 
and that glen is the only one which is permanently inhabited. 
We allude to the valley of Binn, that opens just behind Fiesch, 
and is so conspicuous from the Eggishorn. It is reached on 
that side through a fine, rocky gorge which in winter is so 
dangerous to traverse that a former priest of Binn ended his 
letter with the melancholy signature, ' Vicar of Binn, near the 
world ' {prope mundu7}i). Hence, though the Binn people have 
always belonged to the Vallais, their relations with their Italian 
neighbours are very close, whether in the way of legitimate 
trading or of smuggling. Several easy passes lead over in that 
direction, particularly the Albrun (7907 ft.), that as far back as 
1425 was crossed by an army bent on the conquest of the Val 
d'Ossola. For this reason, Binn, since a comfortable little inn 
was opened there in 1883, is the natural headquarters of a 
traveller in these parts, and all the neighbouring peaks can be 
easily attained thence in the day. But if, with this exception, 
the glens on the Swiss side of the western half of the Lepontines 
are short and steep, the contrary is the case on the Italian slope. 
There we have a deeply-cut and very well-marked valley, that is 
watered by the Toce or Tosa, but assumes, after it has been 
joined (a little above Domo d'Ossola) by the Doveria, flowing 
from the Simplon Pass, the better known name of the Val 
d'Ossola, the historical fortunes of which were set forth in 


Chapter vii. above. Close to the head of this valley are the 
magnificent Tosa Falls, with another good mountain inn, whence 
the very easy glacier Gries Pass (8098 ft.) leads over to the 
head of the Vallais, while the grassy pass of San Giacomo 
(7573 ^^•) affords access to the Val Bedretto, that joins the St. 
Gotthard route and the Val Leventina at Airolo. Two mountain 
glens descend from the main range towards the Tosa, those of 
Val Cairasca and of Val Devero, both now boasting of small 
mountain hotels, built on the highest pastures in either valley, 
those respectively of the Veglia and of the Devero Alps. The 
monarch of this half of the chain is the Monte Leone (11,684 
ft.), that rises just E. of the Simplon, and commands, as do 
most summits of the chain, most wonderful views of the Bernese 
Oberland peaks, while (unlike its neighbours) it can also boast 
of a glorious prospect over the great Lombard lakes. These are 
not seen from the Blindenhorn (11,103 ft.), or from the Basodino 
(10,749 ft.), the general panorama from the former summit far 
surpassing, in the writer's opinion, that to be obtained from 
the latter, which most unjustly enjoys a wider reputation. 

Another characteristic of the western half of the Lepontines is 
the existence in the middle reach (specially known as the Val 
Formazza or the Pommat valley) of the upper Tosa valley of a 
most interesting Vallaisan colony, that preserves even to this 
day its German dialect. It was established here before 1253, as 
in that year an offshoot of this colony, at Bosco, was erected 
into a separate parish, so that the original settlers probably 
came from the Vallais (perhaps over the Gries Pass) in the early 
thirteenth century, or possibly even earlier. 

The mention of Bosco may serve as a transition to our notice 
of the eastern half of the Lepontines, for Bosco is a hamlet at 
the head of one of the glens that go to make up the Val Maggia, ' 
which, with its tributaries, and its neighbour, the Val Verzasca, 
now bears the name of the ' Valleys of Locarno,' as they all con- 
verge towards that town, that is built at the northernmost tip of 
the Lago Maggiore. The hills therein, as well as those that sur- 
round the Lakes of Lugano and of Como, are sometimes distin- 
guished by the special name of the ' Lesser Lepontines.' Now 



these valleys, unlike that of the Tosa, are politically Swiss (since 
15 1 2) as are their neighbours on the S. slope of the eastern half 
of the Lepontines, the Val Leventina (permanently since 1440) 
and the Val Blenio, with Bellinzona (held since 1500) — all these 
valleys, with the Lugano region, forming since 1803 the Canton 
of Ticino or Tessin, or ' Italian Switzerland ' — and the Val 
Mesocco (won in 1480), that was of old included in the Raetian 
Leagues, and so now forms part of the Canton of the Grisons. 
Thus, while most of the S. slope of the western Lepontines is 
Italian, the whole of that slope in the case of the eastern Lepon- 
tines is Swiss. (Full details as to the exact causes of this curious 
extension of Switzerland on the S. slope of the Alps will be found 
in Chapters vi. and vii. above). 

There is one point, however, in which the two halves of our 
region resemble each other — the settlements of thirteenth 
century German-speaking colonies from the Vallais, both in the 
Val Formazza and around the sources of the Rhine, particularly 
those of the main or Hinter branch of that famous river. This 
curious preference of the Vallaisans for the Lepontine Alps does 
not yet seem to have received its definitive explanation, though 
the fact of the settlements is certain enough. 

The remarkable feature as to these colonies at the sources of 
the Rhine is that they now form islands in the midst of a 
Romonsch-speaking population, for this ancient historical 
tongue replaces in the eastern Lepontines the Vallaisan-German 
of the western half, of course on the N. slope only, since on the 
S. slope in both halves Italian is the prevalent language. 

In the midst of the Lepontines is the celebrated St. Gotthard 
Pass and group, which, it is well known, is one of the main 
sources in the Alps whence great rivers flow down. Hence the 
Lepontines, though able to claim but few and unimportant 
tributaries of the Rhone, can claim the entire course of all three 
branches of the Rhine, above Reichenau (some six miles W. of 
Coire), as well as of the Tosa, and of the Ticino, besides the 
actual sources, though not much more, of the Reuss. This 
extraordinary wealth of water accounts for the odd fact (already 
pointed out in Chapter i.), that the lower peak (9922 ft.) of 


the Wyttenwasserstock (a little W. of the St. Gotthard Pass) 
(like the Pizzo Lunghino, near the Maloja) sends streams to 
three seas, in this case to the Mediterranean (through the 
Rhone), the Hadriatic (the Tosa and the Ticino join the Po) and 
the North Sea (through the Reuss and the Rhine). 

As will be seen from our list of Peaks and Passes printed in 
Appendix i., many of the highest summits of the Lepontines 
are in their eastern half, though the loftiest, the Rheinwald- 
horn (11,149 ft-)' must bow to the Monte Leone (11,684 ft.) 
in the western half. These summits of the eastern half were, 
with those of the Range of the Todi, just opposite, the scene 
of the long - continued explorations in the late eighteenth 
and early nineteenth centuries, made by the Benedictine monk 
of Disentis, Father Placidus a Spescha (1752-1833), whom we 
commemorated, as one of the early pioneers of Alpine climbing, 
in Chapter ix. above. Nor should we omit the notable fact 
that the Upper or Grey League (Ober or Grauer Bund) of the 
Raetian Confederation included practically the whole of the 
eastern half of the Lepontines, as has been duly set forth in 
Chapter vii. The extension of this League over the S. slope of 
the Alpine chain was greatly facilitated by the easy passes which 
lead over thither from the eastern half of the Lepontines, such as 
the Lukmanier (6289 ft.), a pass which has always been cast 
into the shade by its neighbours, the San Bernardino or Vogel- 
berg (6769 ft.) — the entire route over both these passes has the 
great advantage of being (at least since 1500) within Swiss 
territory — as well as the Spliigen (6946 ft.), of which the S. 
slope was Swiss (as forming officially part of the Valtelline) from 
1512 to 1797. 

10. The Range of the Todi. — Just as the Bernese Alps and 
the western half of the Lepontine Alps rise opposite each other 
on either side of the upper Rhone valley, so do the eastern half 
of the Lepontines and the Range of the Todi, the Vorder Rhine 
valley serving as the limit between them. Our district thus 
extends from the Oberalp Pass, on the S., to the Klausen Pass 
(6404 ft.), on the N. It forms rather a long-drawn-out chain, 


though not very wide, save a little to the N.W. of its highest 
summit, where the considerable snow-fields of the Hiifi and 
Clariden glaciers close respectively, the Maderanerthal in Uri, 
and at the W. end of the group, and the Sandthal in Glarus. 
The main ridge of the group is the boundary between the Grisons 
and Glarus, while theTamina and Weisstannen glens, at the N.E. 
end of the district, are in the Canton of St. Gall. On a small 
scale, our range resembles the Bernese Alps, in being wholly 
Swiss, though divided among several Cantons, here four in 
number, there seven. Like the Bernese Oberland, our range 
forms one of the great outliers of the Alps, while its culminating 
summit, the Todi (11,887 ft.), is the most northerly important 
peak in Switzerland. It thus looks naturally towards the north, 
on which slope all its principal glaciers (generally called ' Firn ' 
or ' neve ' on the Swiss Government map) flow down. The 
Todi is the highest snowy summit which is visible from Zurich, 
so that one seems to be getting here into a new part of Switzer- 
land. Very fitly, therefore, does the river that passes through 
Ziirich, the Limmat, take its source in the snows of the Todi, 
though there it bears the name of Linth. Notwithstanding these 
northern inclinations, our range was first explored from the 
Grisons side, though these explorations were practically the 
work of a single man, the Benedictine monk, Placidus a Spescha 
(1752-1833), who plays so conspicuous a part in the Alpine 
history of this group and of the eastern half of the Lepontines. 
Forty years later, Georg Hoffmann (1808 -1858), of Basel, 
devoted himself to the peaks of the Maderanerthal. The first 
Ziirich man who undertook the exploration of this group was 
Johannes Hegetschweiler (i 789-1 839), who tried the Todi from 
the Glarus side as early as 1820 and 1822. As is well known, 
it was first successfully climbed in 1824 by two Grisons chamois 
hunters sent out by Father Placidus, the ascent of the upper 
snows being made on the Glarus side, though they had been 
reached by the Porta da Spescha from the Grisons. In 1837 
the most prominent point of the Todi on the N. side, the Glarner 
Todi (11,815 ft-)> ^^s nearly attained by some Glarus peasants, 
though the actually highest point was not touched till it was 


visited in 1853 by Herren G. Studer (of Berne), J. J. Siegfried and 
M. Ulrich (both of Zurich). Oddly enough, the cuhninating 
point of the Todi that lies back, when looked at from the N.E., 
was not climbed direct by the Glarus side till 1861. Soon after, 
the district became the scene in 1863 of the first activities in the 
way of climbing of the infant Swiss Alpine Club, the ' Section 
Todi ' being one of the most energetic among the earUest sections 
of the club. Nowadays the Todi range is the favourite resort 
(especially on Saturdays and Sundays) of young Zurich climbers, 
very few expeditions being made from the Orisons side. To 
English mountaineers the best-known bit of the region is the 
Maderanerthal, where a comfortable Alpine inn, built at a con- 
siderable height, serves as a good starting-point. This beautiful 
glen is inhabited in summer only, apart from the small hamlets 
of Bristen and of Oolzeren, both near its entrance. Its name is 
said to be derived from a sixteenth century Italian miner, one 
Madrano, who worked iron mines in the hollow between the 
Grosse and the Kleine Windgalle. This nearly uninhabited 
glen is balanced by another, the Calfeisen valley, at the N.E. 
extremity of the range, now visited only in summer (but a 
single house is permanently inhabited) for the sake of its 
pastures, particularly those of Sardona at its head : it was 
occupied in the first half of the fourteenth century by another 
of those enterprising Oerman-speaking colonies from the Vallais. 
The Calfeisen colonists are first mentioned in 1346, but the date 
of their immigration is not known, even approximately. This 
colony still flourished as late as 1518, but was then no doubt 
gradually absorbed by their Romonsch neighbours, though 
various Teutonic place-names still survive as proofs of its former 
existence. It is certainly odd to find an Italian miner at one end 
of our range and a set of German-speaking Vallaisans at the other. 
The Calfeisen valley belonged to the powerful and wealthy 
Benedictine monastery of Pfafers (720-1838), for our glen is 
simply the uppermost bit of the Tamina valley, which lower 
down forms the famous Gorge of Pfafers. Another fine gorge 
in the region is the amazing Limmerntobel, cut deep at the 
foot of the precipices of the Selbsanft, and joining (close to the 


Pantenbriicke, above the Baths of Stachelberg) the fine, though 
less surprising, cleft in which the Linth flows. Mention must 
be made of the great landslip of 1881 above Elm, on the N. side 
of the range, when a portion of the slate quarries gave way, and 
killed one hundred and fifteen persons, besides inflicting great 
material damage. Not far from these quarries, and conspicuous 
from Elm, is the singular hole pierced by nature right through 
the main range, and called ' Martinsloch.' This most curious 
natural phenomenon is easily reached. It is 72 ft. high on the 
Glarus side, and 49 ft. on the Orisons side, with a breadth of 
46 ft., and the sun shines through it on several days in the 
year. But, in the writer's opinion, the pearl of the range is the 
hamlet of Brigels, nestling on its splendid shelf of pasture, and 
raised high above the bed of the Vorder Rhine and Ilanz, while 
surrounded by glorious forests, backed by the fantastic crags 
of the Kavestrau rock needles, and commanding an almost 
unlimited panorama towards the peaks that rise round the 
sources of the main branch of the Rhine. 

1 1. The Alps of North-East Switzerland. — As a general rule, 
it is best, when describing the principal groups of the Alps, 
and without attempting to make any very minute divisions, to 
include the foot-hills in the loftier mountain mass of which 
they form the outliers. But in two cases at least it seems 
desirable to make an exception to this rule, and to set up 
separate sections for the description of these relatively low 
mountain ridges — viz. the cases of the Alps of North-East 
Switzerland, and of those of Bavaria, the Vorarlberg, and 
Salzburg (see Group 15 below). Our reason is that in both 
cases, amid many minor summits and smiling pastoral valleys, 
there rise summits which still bear perpetual snow, and which 
form islets, as it were, that have no direct connection with 
loftier snow-bearing ranges. 

As regards the Alps of North-East Switzerland the best limit 
seems to be that formed by the Klausen Pass (6404 ft.), which 
leads from Altdorf to Glarus, placing all the mountains N. of 
that limit in our group, while those to its S. have been noticed 


above under the head of the 'Range of the Todi.' In our 
group we may distinguish perhaps four minor groups. Two of 
these may be dismissed briefly, as they lack perpetual snow. 
One is formed by the two sharp rocky cones of the Mythen 
(6240 ft.), that are so conspicuous from the Lake of Lucerne, 
towering grandly above Schwyz, and its port of Brunnen. If a 
path had not been blasted out of the rock to the summit of the 
higher of the two, the ascent would be difficult, and it would 
have been impossible either (as is the case) to build a little inn 
up there, or for its tenant to have spent some thirty summers in 
it. The other minor group is that of the Kurfiirsten (7576 ft.), 
or ' Seven Electors ' (that is, to the crown of the Holy Roman 
Empire), which rise like sentinels in fine precipices to the N. of 
the Lake of Walenstadt, and form the boundary ridge between that 
lake and the upper Thur valley, or the ' Toggenburg.' This ridge 
sinks on the W. to the Speer (641 1 ft.), while on the E. it rises 
a little to the slightly higher summits of the Faulfirst (7825 ft.) 
and the Alvier (7695 ft.), which crown the spur separating the 
Seez glen from the main Rhine valley. Of these seven summits 
of the Kurfiirsten the two highest points, the Hinterruck and 
the Kasernruck, are the most singular, because, though very 
steep on the S. side (in mist it is nearly impossible to find the 
way without minute local knowledge), on the N.E. slope, 
towards the Toggenburg, they form gently incUned pastures of 
the easiest kind. Thus once upon a time the writer, having 
groped in a mist for many hours at the S. foot of this range, 
succeeded at last in gaining its crest, and was then much startled 
by meeting cows tranquilly wandering about, instead of the fresh 
precipices which he had expected to encounter. 

More interesting to mountaineers are the two other minor 
groups, those of Gldrnisck (9580 ft.) and of the Santis. Both 
rejoice not merely in fairly extensive snow-fields (no true glaciers), 
but in remarkably imposing rock precipices, which at first 
sight promise a hard scramble, though they are easily turned. 
The grand spur of the Vorder Glamisch (7648 ft.), that over- 
shadows the little town of Glarus, hides the loftier summits of 
the chain, which he some way back. Still farther to the S.W. 


is a most desolate tract of country, composed largely of riven 
limestone plateaux, pierced with many loathsome holes ready to 
engulf unwary travellers, and culminating in the Boser Faulen 
(9200 ft.), and the Silberstock or Ortstock (8824 ft.). This 
barren region, that stretches towards the head of the Muota 
valley, has a most repulsive appearance from afar off, and would 
probably not improve on nearer acquaintance. Glarnisch itself 
is easily reached by way of the surprisingly large snow-field 
that fills the hollow enclosed by its two higher summits. The 
panorama should be very fine, but the writer has always had 
hard luck on this peak, once reaching it in mist, then seeing 
nothing and hearing only the railway whistle at Glarus far below, 
and on several other occasions being prevented from even reach- 
ing the Club hut, since, as soon as he approached the region, bad 
weather set in. 

The Sdntis (8216 ft.), rightly called the Hohe Santis, though 
lower than Glarnisch, is a far more extraordinary range. Though 
crowned by a meteorological Observatory and a fair mountain 
Hotel, neither can be reached save after mounting one of two 
by no means tiny snow-fields and a rock staircase. That is the 
easy route up, but there are others which are more painful. If, 
as did the writer in 1905, one drives from the Toggenburg to 
Appenzell over the rolling downs to the N.W. of the Santis, that 
range stands up most grandly, with its gaunt pale limestone 
precipices relieved against the blue sky, and one can hardly 
believe this imposing chain is really 600 ft. lower than the well- 
known Faulhorn, behind Grindelwald. The unexpected grandeur 
of the Santis is in part due to its remarkably isolated position, 
just on the rim of the higher Alps. The writer once enjoyed 
an amazing sunset from its summit, the clouds being blood-red, 
and that colour being reflected on the earth, as far as the flame- 
tinted Lake of Constance, across the hills that gradually sink in 
height somewhat like the waves of a great green sea. As on the 
Besimauda, in the Maritime Alps, years before, he realised how 
the Alps break down into the plains, the waves becoming smaller 
and smaller as they gain more tranquil regions. Another char- 
acteristic of the Santis range is the number of Alpine lakes. 


hidden away in the deep narrow glens that seam its N.E. flank. 
The waters of these tarns make all the greater effect by the con- 
trast they afford to the pale grey cliffs and stony slopes that hem 
them in. In thinking of the Santis one must mention by the 
way that quaint little seventeenth century chapel of Wildkirchli 
(the ' wild chapel '), hidden away in its shadowy cave, that has 
been hollowed out by Nature in the cliffs of the N.E. extremity 
of the Santis range. Always striking and picturesque, even when 
viewed from below, it gains much local colour on the first Sunday 
in July, when the Feast of the Guardian Angels (the chapel is 
dedicated to St. Michael) is locally kept, and the whole mountain- 
side resounds with the cries of the Appenzellers, who, when 
jodelling, bark like dogs. One feels that Appenzell and the 
Santis still keep those traits which distinguish this region so 
delightfully from tourist-overrun districts away to the S.W. 
The writer has visited Appenzell several times, and came away 
on each occasion with a sentiment of deeper thankfulness that 
primitive simpUcity still reigns in the land that, above all, is the 
centre of primitive democracy, and whose citizens attend the 
great annual Lands gemeinde or Assembly with sword girded on 
thigh, like their forefathers. The local costumes, too, are still 
kept up, even to some extent on week-days, though the canary- 
coloured shorts and the scarlet waistcoats of the herdsmen are 
not a patch on the marvels of the festival attire of the women, 
on such a great occasion as the striking procession on the Feast 
of the Assumption (August 15) through the streets of the little 
town-village of Appenzell. 

12. Bernina Alps. — We must now return to the Spliigen Pass, 
which we left in Section 9, and study the Alpine chain that 
stretches thence to the Reschen Scheideck Pass which marks the 
end of the Central Alps. Here two topographical difficulties 
confront us at once, and we have to make a choice between 
them. The range running eastwards from the Spliigen forms part 
of the Albula group, but when it attains a point near the Maloja 
Pass (5935 ft.), the main watershed bends S.E. and continues 
along the crest of the Bernina Alps. In this way the greater 


portion of the Albula group is not on the main divide, while it 
is continued by the Silvretta group, so that it is practically most 
convenient to consider these two mountain masses after the 
Bernina Alps. On the other hand, the W. wing of the Bernina Alps 
(we mean the range S.W. of the Muretto Pass) is a mere spur, for 
the great watershed does not touch the Bernina Alps till a little 
to the E. of the Muretto Pass. Thus whichever alternative we 
select, it is inevitable that a portion of our range will not be on 
the main watershed of the Alps. In this perplexity let us give 
the preference to the Bernina Alps, which are much loftier than 
the Albula group, and of which a much more extensive section 
is really on the Alpine watershed. 

A glance at the map shows that when the main range resumes 
its E. direction, after a short S. diversion from the Spliigen, it is 
faced for a long distance by another, which runs parallel to it, 
the general direction being N.E. Between them lie two great 
mountain valleys or trenches which at some distant period 
probably formed but one — the Val BregagUa (watered by the 
Maira) and the Engadine, or upper (Swiss) portion of the valley 
of the Inn. The more northerly of these two ranges is that of 
the Albula, continued by that of the Silvretta, while the more 
southerly forms the Bernina Alps, to the S. of which is another 
great valley, the Valtelline, also roughly parallel to those just 

Now in our sense the Bernina Alps stretch from near the head 
of the Lake of Como right away to the Reschen Scheideck 
(4902 ft.) and the Stelvio Passes (9055 ft.). Like the Bernese 
Oberland, they form a central mass, flanked by two wings, the 
Muretto (8389 ft.) and the Bernina Passes (7645 ft.) forming the 
limits that mark off the central mass from its outliers. This 
central mass is the Bernina group /ar excellence, its name being 
taken from the pass, and not vice versa as is sometimes imagined. 
It is the lofty snowy range so well known, at least by sight, to all 
visitors to the Upper Engadine, though its peaks are not as much 
visited as is usual in the case of a great mountain group. On 
the N. slope two great glaciers flow down majestically, the more 
westerly, that of Roseg (swollen by its neighbour, the Tschierva) 


ending in the Roseg glen that terminates close to Pontresina. 
The more easterly glen is all but entirely occupied by the 
Morteratsch glacier, and ends some way above Pontresina. Now 
very nearly at the head of these two great glaciers, yet a little on 
the Swiss side of the watershed, rises Piz Bernina (13,304 ft.), 
the monarch of the group, and the loftiest summit in the Alps 
E. of a line drawn from the Simplon Pass up the upper Rhone 
valley and then over the Grimsel Pass — in short, E. of the 
Pennines, on the main watershed, and of the central mass of 
the Bernese Alps, on the more northerly line. Hence Piz 
Bernina is remarkable, as it surpasses not merely every peak in 
the Eastern Alps, but also all those in the Central Alps, save 
in the case of the Bernese Oberland. But it is not very much 
higher than its immediate neighbours, so that it does not make 
so deep an impression on the mind of the spectator as might be 
expected from its really great height. The peak, however, has 
another, though less permanent, claim to notice. Its first ascent 
was made as far back as 1850 by Herr J. Coaz (b. 1822), who 
climbed, in the course of his journeys as one of the Federal map 
surveyors, many other peaks in and around the Engadine, one 
as early as 1845. He still survives, hale and hearty, the Nestor 
of living climbers, though nearly fifty-eight years have elapsed 
since he conquered Piz Bernina. 

To the S. of the main mass is a considerable mountain district, 
closed at its head by several great glaciers, those of Scerscen, of 
Fellaria, and of Verona, the waters flowing from which descend 
through various glens that unite to form the Val Malenco, down 
which runs the track from the Muretto Pass to Sondrio, the capital 
of the fertile Valtelline. This region between the Bernina main 
range and the Valtelline is wholly Italian, but is more rarely 
visited and explored than perhaps any district in the High Alps, 
save perhaps that which extends S.E. of the Tour du Grand St. 
Pierre in the Eastern Graians. 

To the S.W. of the Muretto Pass the W. wing of the Bernina 
Alps is about equally divided now between Switzerland and Italy, 
though, when the Valtelline was held by the Grisons from 1 5 1 2 
to 1797, it was, in a sense, wholly Swiss. Hence it bears the 


double name of the ' Bregaglia district,' and of the ' Mountains 
of Val Masino,' the chief glen on its S. slope. It is composed 
of a fine series of granitic peaks, divided from each other by two 
steep and narrow glaciers (those of Bondasca and Albigna), and 
a much longer though much more level field of ice, known as the 
Forno glacier, the stream from which descends direct to the 
Maloja Pass. Several easy smugglers' passes cross this range, 
while others have been forced of recent years, but the explora- 
tion of the higher summits of the group did not begin till 
as late as 1862, and has to a great extent been the work of 
perhaps only half-a-dozen climbers. The loftiest summit on 
the divide of the W. wing (though not, be it remembered, the 
main divide of the Alps) is the Cima di Castello (11,155 ft.), 
though much better known are the twin summits of the Piz 
Cengalo (11,070 ft.) and of the Piz Badile (10,863 ft.), which 
make such a grand show when seen from above St. Moritz across 
the broad opening of the Maloja. The culminating point of the 
entire region is, however, the Monte della Disgrazia (12,067 ft.), 
which rises as a great spur on the Italian side, and therefore is 
comparatively unknown, although in itself a magnificent peak. 
All the four summits named were first conquered by English 
climbers between 1862 and 1867. 

Let us now turn our attention to the E. wing of the Bernina 
Alps, that namely extending N.E. of the Bernina Pass, till it 
touches the Tyrol at the Reschen Scheideck and the Stelvio 
Passes. It is a wild and strange, though very interesting region, 
especially from the historical point of view. It is made up in 
part of the valley of Livigno, which sends its waters to the Lower 
Engadine. Situated on the N. slope of the main watershed of the 
Alps, the fate of this valley has always been linked with that of 
the county of Bormio, of which the other half, W. of Bormio 
itself, consists of the glens which give rise to the infant Adda. 
Now, as the county of Bormio has for ages formed part of the 
Valtelline, it follows that Livigno has had the same historical 
destiny as that great valley, so that while it was Rsetian from 
1512 to 1797, it became in 1859 part of Italy. Thus, with 
certain districts in the Maritime Alps and the Val di Lei (simply 


a pasture valley), it is the only fragment of present-day Italy 
which lies N. of the Alpine watershed. To redress the balance, 
as it were, another glen included in our region, that of Miinster, 
is, at any rate in its upper reach, politically Swiss since 1762, 
although it is on the S. slope of the main chain. Thus we have 
the curious anomaly (noticed in Chapters vi. and vii. above) 
that ItaUan-speaking Livigno is politically Italian, though the 
Spol joins the Inn, while Ladin-speaking Miinster is Swiss, 
though the Ram is an afifiuent of the Adige. 

The best-known summit in the E. wing is undoubtedly the 
Piz Languard (10,716 ft), the well-known belvedere of Pontre- 
sina. It rises at the extreme S.W. extremity of our district, but 
is surpassed in point of height by a number of other peaks, which 
stand far away to the E. and S.E., and form, as it were, small, 
semi-detached groups ; such are the Cima di Piazzi (11,283 ft-)> 
the Cima Viola (11,103 ft.), and the Cima di Saoseo (10,752 ft.), 
all situated a little to the S.W. of Bormio. More to the N. are 
the Corno di Campo (10,844 ft-)' Piz Quatervals (10,348 ft.), 
and Piz Murtarol (10,424 ft.), while beyond the Ofen Pass (7071 
ft.) are Piz Plavna da daint (10,414 ft.), Piz Tavrii (10,394 ft.), 
Piz Pisoc (10,427 ft.), Piz Lischanna (10,204 ft.), and Piz 
Sesvenna (10,568 ft.): near the Stelvio are Piz Umbrail (9955 
ft.), close to the historical pass (8242 ft.) of that name, the 
secular rival of the Stelvio (9055 ft.) — they are traversed by two 
of the three highest carriage roads in the Alps (they are separated, 
in this point, by the Col du Galibier, 8721 ft., in the Dauphine 
Alps) — and the Dreisprachenspitze (9328 ft.), the knoll, where 
meet the Hmits of the German, Italian, and Ladin tongues, as 
well as the actual political frontiers of Switzerland, Italy, and 
Austria. Indeed the E. wing of the Bernina Alps offers a series 
of fascinating puzzles to those who delight in unravelling com- 
plicated problems, for its physical, political, and linguistic 
characteristics overlap in a bewildering fashion. It requires 
detailed local knowledge indeed to be able to trace (see Chap- 
ter VII. above) the exact line of the main watershed of the Alps 
between the Bernina and Reschen Scheideck Passes, while other 
entanglements will be met with on the way. Perhaps this is 


one reason why our region is little visited save in the case of the 

peaks that overhang the Engadine (Upper or Lower), though it 
boasts of many attractions, picturesque and historical, even 
though they may not be absolutely of the first rank. 

13. Albula Group. — Under this name (taken from that of its now 
best-known pass, beneath which the railway tunnel connecting 
the Engadine for the first time with the outer world by a quick 
and easy route was opened in 1903) a lengthy range stretches 
from the Spliigen to the Maloja, and the Fliiela Passes (7838 ft.), 
that mark it off respectively from the Bernina Alps, and from 
the Silvretta group. As noted in the preceding section, it 
forms the main watershed of the Alps till near the Maloja, but 
then becomes merely a lateral range that limits the Engadine 
on the N.W. 

Three deep-sunk valleys, divided from each other by four 
mountain ridges, make up our region — the valleys being those 
of Avers and Oberhalbstein, — both leading from the Hinter 
Rhine valley to the Upper Engadine, the former by the For- 
cellina Pass (8770 ft.) combined with the Forcella di Lunghino 
(8645 ft.), and the latter by the Julier Pass (7504 ft.) — and the 
Albula glen (a tributary of the Rhine), through which a carriage 
road over, and a tunnel beneath, the Albula Pass (7595 ft.) give 
access to Ponte in the Upper Engadine. 

As a valley must by the nature of things be enclosed by two 
ridges, the first and second of our four ridges surround that of 
Avers. Of that singular glen we spoke in Chapter vi., for it 
presents most remarkable political, linguistic, and historical 
peculiarities, though its population only amounts to three 
hundred and sixty-six souls. To us here it is most interesting, 
because at its head is the hamlet of Juf, which enjoys the dis- 
tinction of being the loftiest permanently inhabited village in the 
Alps, as its twenty-four inhabitants live at a height of no less than 
6998 ft. Just at the point where a gorge separates the two 
halves of the Avers glen, a torrent rushes in from the Val di Lei, 
a pasture valley descending from the most westerly of our four 
ridges, so that this glen (politically Itahan, though situated on 


the N. slope of the Alps) sends its waters to the Rhine ; the facts 
that its lower reach forms a savage gorge, while an easy pass 
connects it with Chiavenna, probably account for its curious 
political position, though, like Livigno (mentioned in the last 
section), it was Rcetian from 151 2 to 1797, and only became 
Italian in 1859. It is an even longer glen than its neighbours 
of Madris and Bregalga, so that, while the passes from the head 
of each over to the Val Bregaglia are quite easy, the ascent on 
the N. slope is much more gradual than the short though steep 
descent on the S. slope. In our most westerly ridge the chief 
summits are the Surettahorn (9945 ft.), just E. of the Spliigen, 
the Piz Timun or d'Emet (10,502 ft.), the Pizzo Gallegione 
(10,201 ft.), a little W. of which the ridge bends from a southerly 
to an easterly direction, and the Pizzo della Duana (10,279 f*.), 
to the N.E. of which the second of our four ridges unites with the 
most westerly. In that second ridge the chief summits are the 
Piz Platta (11,109 ft-) ^"d t^^ Averser Weissberg (9987 ft.) — 
two superb belvederes, accessible with ease in a short time from 
Cresta (6395 ft.), the chief village of the Avers glen — while 
more to the N.E. are the twin black peaks of Piz Forbisch 
(10,689 ft.) and Piz d'Arblatsch (10,512 ft.). 

Not very far east of this point of junction and of the tracks 
over the ancient historical pass of the Septimer (7582 ft.) rises 
the Pizzo Lunghino (91 21 ft.), a summit of great topographical 
importance, first because here the main watershed of the Alps 
splits off to the S.E. over the Maloja to the Bernina Alps (so 
that henceforth the Albula group is of merely secondary im- 
portance), and next, because from it (as from the Wyttenwasser- 
stock in the Lepontines) streams descend towards three seas, in 
this case to the Hadriatic (the Maira joins the Po), the North 
Sea (the stream from the Septimer Pass falls into the Rhine), and 
the Black Sea (which is fed by the Inn through the Danube). 

Our third ridge divides the Oberhalbstein glen (or the Julier 
route) from the Albula glen, and is far loftier than its two 
more westerly neighbours. First we have the very considerable 
snow-covered Err group, though its culminating point is now 
called the Piz del las Calderas (11,132 ft.), that of Piz d'Err being 


but the second in height (11,093 ft.). More interesting, how- 
ever, are three summits that rise to the N. of the Err group, the 
Piz d'Aela (10,959 ft.), the Tinzenhorn (10,430 ft.), and the Piz 
Michel (10,378 ft.). The two last named show from the health- 
resort of Davos as boldly as the Piz Cengalo and the Piz 
Badile do from above St. Moritz across the wide opening of 
the Maloja, while all three are true Dolomites, though not in 
the South Tyrol. As is well known, magnesian limestone is 
found sporadically in the Alps, outside the South Tyrol. We 
have noted several peaks of this nature in the low ranges S.W. 
of Grenoble, in the Dauphine Alps, while there is the striking, 
though isolated, Pizzo Columbe (8363 ft.) in the eastern Lepon- 
tines, between the St. Gotthard and the Lukmanier Passes, as 
well as the quaint group of the Spliigen Dolomites (just N. of the 
village of that name, and also in the eastern Lepontines), which 
attains a height of 9991 ft. in the Alperschellihorn. But the Piz 
d'Aela and its two neighbours seem to be the most important 
and loftiest group of this geological character outside the South 
Tyrol. They are often specially named the ' Berglin Dolomites ' 
from the village at their N.E. foot, and now on the Albula 

Our fourth ' ridge ' is rather a range, or, strictly speaking, two 
ranges, separated by the Scaletta Pass (8593 ft.), by which Davos 
and the Upper Engadine most easily communicate, for the Fliiela 
Pass (7838 ft.), though traversed by a carriage road, leads from 
Davos to the Lower Engadine, as it reaches the Inn valley 
below the Punt' Ota, the ancient limit between the two divi- 
sions. Each of our two ranges serves as the centre from which 
radiate a number of glens of some length, mainly on the 
Davos or N. slope, though the Sulsanna glen, on the Engadine 
slope, is scarcely, if at all, inferior to them in this respect. 
Each group culminates in twin summits of nearly equal height, 
the more westerly being Piz Kesch (11,228 ft.), the loftiest 
summit in the entire Albula group, and the more easterly Piz 
Vadret (10,584 ft.). In both cases the actual highest peak 
was first conquered by an English party, in 1864 and 1867 



As will be seen, the Albula group is much inferior in height 
to the central mass of the Bernina Alps, while Piz Kesch is 
even surpassed by the Cima di Piazzi (11,283 ft.), the monarch 
of the E. wing; the Cima di Castello (11,155 ft.), the highest 
point on the main ridge of the W. wing, is slightly inferior 
to Piz Kesch, though the true culminating summit of the W. 
wing, the Monte della Disgrazia (12,067 ft.), is indeed con- 
siderably loftier. The peaks of the Albula group are thus 
rather dwarfed by their mightier neighbours across the upper 
Inn valley. But, as generally happens, the finest panoramas 
are obtained from secondary ranges, so that the Albula group 
stands very high in this respect. The writer can speak en- 
thusiastically of the views from Piz Platta, the Averser Weissberg, 
and Piz dellas Calderas. That from Piz Vadret was rather dis- 
appointing, as it stands at a wrong angle for the proper 
appreciation of the central Bernina Alps, while to the N.W. the 
snowless summits around Davos present a monotonous aspect 
in keeping with the melancholy associations of that sad spot. 
Envious mists hid everything when the writer visited Piz Kesch. 
In short, the Albula group, like the Lepontines, offers many 
superb belvederes, though from a mountaineer's point of view 
they are inferior (saving Piz d'Aela with its two comrades, 
and the three are all strangers, so to speak, in the region) to 
most of the Bernina Alps. 

14. Silvretta and RMtikon Group. — This group, too, is a] 
lengthy ridge, with the usual pair of spurs or outliers. From ; 
the Fliiela Pass its watershed runs N.E., forming the Silvrettal 
(a name spelt 'Selvreta' in the seventeenth and eighteenth! 
centuries) group (the reader may or may not adopt at his choice! 
the explanation of this term as referring to ' forests ' or to ' silverj 
snows') that rises in its four chief peaks, Piz Linard (11,201 ft.)J 
the Verstanklahorn (10,831 ft.). Gross Piz Buin (10,880 ft.)i 
and the Fluchthorn (11,165 ft')» before it sinks to the com-* 
paratively low ridge enclosing the Swiss side glen of Samnaun. 
Beyond that glen the Vesulspitze (10,145 ft-) ^-^^ the Hexenkopf 
(9968 ft.) are the highest peaks, as the range gradually falls to^ 



wards the Reschen Scheideck Pass (4902 ft.), its N.E. limit 
as well as that of the Central Alps. The Silvretta range thus 
runs between the Swiss Lower Engadine on the S., and the 
Swiss Prattigau or Landquart valley on the W., while on the 
N. it is limited by the Tyrolese valley of Paznaun, and by the 
Vorarlberg valley (also Austrian) of Montafon. It is practically 
convenient to annex to our range the mainly Tyrolese 
district of Ferwall, that Ues N. of the Paznaun valley, and S. of 
the Arlberg Pass (5912 ft.), its loftiest points being the twin 
summits of the Kuchenspitze (10,401 ft.) and the Kiichelspitze 
(10,315 ft.), though its finest peak is the Patteriol (10,037 ^t.), 
while its principal belvedere is the Hoher Riffler (10,368 ft.). 
The frontiers of Switzerland, the Tyrol, and the Vorarlberg 
meet at the summit called for that reason the Dreilanderspitz 
(iO)539 ft:.). But this politically important summit stands a 
little to the N.E. of the true orographical centre of the region, 
the Signalhorn (10,539 ft.), which rises a little to the N.W. of 
the mountains named Gross Piz Buin (10,880 ft.) and Klein Piz 
Buin (10,696 ft.). Hence the Silvretta range either bends N.W. 
or, if it is preferred to say so, throws out a great spur in that 
direction. On it rise the Silvrettahorn (10,657 ft.) and the 
rock needles of the Gross Litzner (10,207 ft.) and of the Gross 
Seehorn (10,247 ft.), before it sinks to the well-marked de- 
pression of the Schlappinerjoch (7218 ft.). This pass marks 
the limit between the Silvretta group and its continuation in 
the same N.W. direction, the Rhatikon range ('mons Rsetico'), 
that rises in the Madrishorn (9285 ft.), the Sulzfluh (9252 ft.), 
the Drusenfluh (9282 ft.), and the Scesaplana (9741 ft.), before 
ending in the Falknis (8419 ft.), that towers over Ragatz and 
Sargans. From the Signalhorn the N.W. bit of the Silvretta 
range and the whole of that of the Rhatikon runs between the 
Swiss Prattigau valley, on the S.W., and the Vorarlberg (that is, 
Austrian) glens of Montafon and the Wallgau, on the N.E. 

It will thus be seen that the whole of our group smacks of the 
Tyrol and the Vorarlberg, thus preparing us for the entirely 
Austrian character of the Eastern Alps. It is in part now 
politically Swiss, so far as regards its S. slope. But that slope 


was once also Austrian, if not wholly Tyrolese, for the claims of 
the Habsburgers over the Prattigau were not bought up by the 
Raetian Leagues till 1649-165 2, while the Lower Engadine was 
Tyrolese till 1652. As we pointed out in Chapter vii., the Tyrol 
itself came to the Habsburgers in 1363, while of the region later 
called by the general name of the ' Vorarlberg ' (that is, ' before 
the Arlberg Pass,' when looked at from the point of view of 
any one crossing the pass to Innsbruck), the town of Feldkirch 
was bought by the Habsburgers in 1375, as in 1394 was that 
of Bludenz, with the valley of Montafon. The long and close 
connection between the Lower Engadine and the Tyrolese glen 
of Paznaun is illustrated by the curious fact (pointed out in 
Chapter ix.) that till 1383 Galtiir, the highest hamlet in the 
Paznaun valley, was included in the parish of Ardez (which 
still owns the Gross Fermunt pastures at the head of the 
Vorarlberg glen of Montafon) in the Lower Engadine, being 
then allowed to have a priest of its own to serve the church 
built in 1359 owing to the difficulties of communication in 
winter over the Futschol Pass (9098 ft.). Even to this day the 
Fenga or Fimber pastures, on the Tyrolese side of the Fimber 
Pass (8570 ft.), belong to the Swiss villages of Remiis and Sent, 
in the Lower Engadine, so that, oddly, the Heidelberg Club 
hut, the property of the German and Austrian Alpine Club, is 
actually situated on politically Swiss, though topographically 
Tyrolese, that is, Austrian, territory. 

The Rhatikon chain generally falls in fine precipices on the 
Swiss side, but the N. slope offers easy access to the crest — in 
fact, many of its highest summits are of what has been called the 
' writing-desk ' shape. Hence they were early visited. In 1742 
Nicholas Sererhard, the pastor of Seewis, gives us an account of 
his ascent (not the first) of the Scesaplana, though he did not 
climb it straight from the Swiss side, gaining the glacier on the 
other slope, by which the now usual way from the Liinersee lake 
and its ' Club hut' (really a nice little mountain inn) was joined. 
The ' Club hut ' is named the ' Douglass [sic] Club hut ' in memory 
of a young Scotchman (John Sholto Douglas) who owned a large 
factory near Bludenz, and died in 1875, at t^^e age of only thirty- 



six, by a sad accident on a hunting expedition. He had done 
some good exploration among the hills around Bludenz, his 
finest climb having probably been the ascent of the boldest 
summit of the Rhatikon, the Zimbaspitze (8678 ft.) in 1863, 
which he was the first traveller to visit, though it had previously 
been attained more than once by peasants of the region. The 
monarch of the entire group, Piz Linard (11,201 ft.), was 
certainly scaled in 1835 by Professor Oswald Heer, of scientific 
fame. But old Ulrich Campell, the sixteenth century historian 
of Rcetia, has a wonderful tale of one Conrad (whence the peak 
was called ' Piz Chiinard ' or ' Conrad ') who, at some date 
before 1573, succeeded in vanquishing this terrible mountain, 
and planted a golden cross on its topmost point. Many 
attempts were made later to reach and carry off this cross, but 
all were fruitless. This legendary Conrad and his peak 
reminds us of Bonifacio Rotario and the RochemeloH; near the 
Mont Cenis, and especially of the eleventh century attempts to 
carry away the treasure, deposited on its summit by the 
mysterious King Romulus, whose name was applied to the peak as 
late as 1456, and is perhaps to be detected in the present title 
of the mountain. The Fluchthorn, the second peak of our 
group, was first climbed in 1861, and long enjoyed a terrific, 
though wholly unmerited, reputation. But it was not till the 
then youthful Swiss Alpine Club set to work in earnest that the 
serious exploration of the range commenced in 1865, the next 
years seeing the defeat of the two little local Matterhorns, the 
Verstanklahorn and the Gross Litzner. The most extensive 
glaciers of the region, such as those of Fermunt, Jamthal, and 
Larain (note that in each case the special name * Ferner,' 
applied to glaciers in the Eastern Alps, is applied to these, a 
sign that we are not far from, some would say already within, 
that division of the Alpine chain), are on the Austrian slope. 
But that of Silvretta, on the Swiss side, is no doubt the most gene- 
rally known, for it shines on the horizon when looked at from 
the head of the Prattigau. It is accessible with the utmost ease 
from the small Silvretta inn and is perhaps the only Alpine glacier 
that has ever been the scene of a tobogganing race in winter. 


At either extremity of our group are two singular historical 
survivals. At its N.W. end we have the independent princi- 
pality of Liechtenstein connected by a Customs Union with 
Vorarlberg and by a Postal and Money Union with Austria, but 
a sovereign state since 1866, which takes its name from far- 
distant family castles in Austria and in Styria. The other, the 
extreme E. outpost of our region, is the quaint Swiss valley of 
Samnaun, nearly surrounded by the Tyrol, and so now speaking 
Tyrolese-German (instead of the Ladin it had kept up to one 
hundred years ago) because its communications with the Tyrol 
are very easy. Those with Switzerland are so difficult at present 
that recruits pass, with rifles and in uniform, by special leave 
over Tyrolese territory and past Bludenz in order to join their 
Swiss comrades at Coire; the new carriage road now being 
constructed from Martinsbruck in the Lower Engadine to the 
Samnaun valley will soon remedy this quaint state of things. 

III.— Eastern Alps 

15. The Alps of Bavaria, the Vorarlberg, and Salzburg. — 

This group, like the Alps of North-East Switzerland (No. 11), is 
one of foot-hills, though, as some bear perpetual snow, it seems 
best to promote these ranges to the rank of a distinct district. 
Our present group, then, comprises all the comparatively low, 
though striking, limestone ridges, that rise to the N. of a line 
drawn over the Arlberg Pass, and past Innsbruck to near Brix- 
legg, and thence over the Gerlos Pass (4876 ft.) down the 
Pinzgau and the Enns valley — in short, the series of detached 
groups that crop up to the N. of the mightier snowy ranges of 
the Rhatikon, of the Silvretta, of the Oetzthal and Stubai, of the 
Zillerthal, and of the Tauern Alps. As in the case of the Alps of 
N.E Switzerland, no peak quite attains the height of 10,000 ft., 
the loftiest point of the whole region being the Parseierspitze 
(9968 ft.) to the N.W. of Landeck, though several other peaks 
that rise more to the E. are perhaps better known to English 
readers (not, however, to English travellers), such as the 
Zugspitze (9738 ft.), theWatzmann (8901 ft.), and the Dachstein 


(9830 ft.). The reach of the Inn valley extending from 
Innsbruck to Rosenheim divides our group into two halves. 
To the W. of that limit are the mountain masses of the Allgau, of 
the Lechthal, of Wetterstein, and of Karwendel, while to the E. 
of that portion of the Inn valley are the Kaiser and the 
Kitzbiihel ranges, besides those of Berchtesgaden, of Salzburg, 
and of the Salzkammergut. All the higher summits, save 
the Dachstein, the Watzmann, and the Hochkonig, are com- 
prised in the more westerly half, the watershed of which is 
throughout the boundary between Bavaria, on the N., and 
Austria (that is, Vorarlberg and the Tyrol), on the S. In the 
other half, our ranges divide Bavaria from the Tyrol, till near 
Salzburg, but then become wholly Austrian, separating the 
Austrian provinces of Upper Austria and of Salzburg from each 
other. No one can fail to wonder at the curious fashion in 
which the Berchtesgaden country makes a great dip to the S. into 
Austrian (Salzburg) territory. As pointed out in Chapter vii., 
this is due to the fact that the secularised territory of the 
Austin Canons of Berchtesgaden, given to Austria in 1803, but 
handed over to Bavaria in 18 10, was quite forgotten in 1814, 
when Bavaria had to restore most of its recent acquisitions to 
Austria, and so was retained (despite later protests) by 
Bavaria, part of which it thus forms by a sort of historical 
accident. To us this quaint bit of historical geography is 
specially interesting, as in consequence the Watzmann, which 
rises slightly N. of the watershed, is now wholly Bavarian, the 
highest purely Bavarian summit, for (since 1803) the Zugspitze 
is on the frontier ridge between Bavaria and the Tyrol (there- 
fore the highest point of which any slope is within the German 
Empire), while the Parseierspitze is wholly Tyrolese, and the 
Dachstein is at the meeting-point of Salzburg, Upper Austria, 
and Styria. 

As such a considerable portion of our group is on the 
frontier between the Austrian Empire and Bavaria, the passes 
across it are important politically. They are often traversed 
by carriage roads, which, however, rarely exceed the height of 
4000 ft., while at the E, extremity railways run through the 


Lueg gorge from Salzburg, and beneath the Pyhrn Pass from 
Vienna, both leading to the Enns valley, and thus serving as 
approaches from the N. to the Radstadter Tauern, the pass 
which we have selected as the E. limit of the Alps. In both 
respects our group is better off than that with which it has most 
likeness, the Alps of N.E. Switzerland, but of course in the 
latter case political and frontier considerations do not come 
in. Like its Swiss rival, our group can boast of many lakes. 
But as a rule these are much more extensive than those of 
the N.E. Swiss Alps, which are little more than mountain tarns. 
Here, on the contrary, the lakes belong rather to the class of 
the Lakes of Thun or Brienz or Lucerne, on the N. slope, or 
of the great Lombard lakes on the S. slope. 

There are, however, other points in which our two groups 
resemble each other. Each, though its height is small com- 
pared with that of its greater neighbours, displays rock precipices 
that are quite astonishing. In our group the gigantic S. walls 
of the Dachstein and of the Watzmann, and the N. wall of the 
Parseierspitze, are instances of this, while even the ordinary 
routes up the Zugspitze and the Parseierspitze have had to be 
rendered accessible to non-climbers by iron chains, paths 
blasted in the rock, etc., just like the Siintis. Yet, in both cases, 
the chief peaks were early visited, probably because men then 
preferred rocks to the unknown perils of the snows. The 
W. Karwendelspitze is known to have been climbed as far 
back as 1654, the Thorstein in 1819, the Zugspitze in 1820, 
the highest point of the Dachstein in 1832 — alone the Parseier- 
spitze remained virgin till 1869, probably because it did not 
stand on a frontier, and its real superiority was not ascertained 
till late. 

In one respect portions of our group recall far-distant regions. 
The hunting rights (especially of chamois, and particularly in 
the Karwendel region) are owned by great nobles of various 
nationalities. These have constructed paths and built hunting- 
lodges, for their own convenience naturally, so that during the 
hunting season (September — October) travellers are warned 
against visiting these ranges. It is a case parallel to that of 


the Maritimes and the Eastern Graians, where, however, it 
is a king (the ruler of Italy), and not merely great nobles, who 
have bought up all hunting rights. The Floiten glen, in the 
Zillerthal Alps, is also a huge game preserve. 

16. Ortler, Oetzthal, and Stubai Ranges. — It may seem 
strange at first sight to consider these three great ranges 
together, for the Ortler group rises S. of the main divide of 
the Alps, which runs over the crest of the two other ranges. 
No doubt, if we were trying to write a really minute and 
detailed description of the various Alpine groups, it would be 
best to speak of these three chains under two or even three 
heads. But, as in these pages we are merely sketching the 
outlines of the subject, and not writing special monographs, 
we have decided to include all three in one group, that, after 
all, is far less extensive than the Cottians or the Graians, 
which we have not subdivided. The Stubai Alps are really 
a great outlier of the Oetzthal range. Taking these together 
we see that they face, across the Vintschgau, or upper 
valley of the Adige, the still mightier Ortler range. It is true 
that between the Stelvio and the Reschen Scheideck there is, 
so to speak, a solution of continuity, so that the Ortler range 
is separated from the Oetzthal-Stubai range by a tract of hilly 
country that forms the most north-easterly portion of the 
Bernina group (No. 12 above). But, as we explained above, 
we had for practical reasons to draw an artificial line of 
distinction between the Central and the Eastern Alps, so as 
not to include in the former the Ortler range, with the highest 
summit in the Tyrol. That line passed first over the Reschen 
Scheideck Pass, and then over either the Umbrail or the 
Stelvio Passes, in order to reach and then follow the course of 
the Adda down the Valtelline. Hence our present group is 
limited by those passes on the W., while on the S. the Tonale 
Pass (6181 ft.) is as much the natural boundary of the Ortler 
range, as the Brenner Pass (4495 f^-)) o^ the E., is that of the 
Oetzthal-Stubai range. But, as between themselves, the Ortler 
range is cut off from its fellow by the upper valley of the 


Adige or the Vintschgau. Taken together they constitute by 
far the most extensive and important snowy region in the 
Eastern Alps — indeed this would be almost true of the 
Oetzthal-Stubai half of the group, looked at by itself. 

The Ortler range, of course, stands forth before any other 
part of the Eastern Alps by virtue of the fact that in it rises the 
loftiest summit, the Ortler (12,802 ft.), of the entire Eastern 
Alps, while the Tauern group (our No. 18) with the Gross 
Glockner (12,461 ft.), just beats the Oetzthal, with its Wild- 
spitze (12,382 ft.). Yet the Ortler, like so many other peaks 
in the Alps — including both the summits just mentioned — 
does not rise on the watershed of its own group, preferring 
to stand a little way off to the N., so that it is wholly Tyrolese, 
just as the Dufourspitze is wholly Swiss and Monte Viso is 
wholly Italian— in each, the point named is situated on what, 
technically speaking, is but a huge spur or outlier of the main 
ridge. The Ortler range stretches out four great arms or 
lateral ridges from its centre, but this centre is not a single 
peak — it is the high snowy ridge or crest which extends from the 
Suldenspitze (11,100 ft.), on the N.W,, to the lower summit 
(12,343 ft.) of the Monte Cevedale, on the S.E. From the 
former peak radiate the two great ridges that enclose the 
Sulden valley, so well known to travellers, while from the latter 
branch off those that form the boundaries of the Val Furva 
(or Santa Caterina valley) and of the Martell valley. There 
can be no question that in mere point of number of lofty 
peaks and passes the Ortler range easily surpasses any other 
in the Eastern Alps. Yet very few passes across it were 
known before the sixties of the nineteenth century. This is 
in part due to the great height of all passes over it, but prin- 
cipally to two other facts. One is that all the great glens 
descending from our range soon join much greater valleys, 
on which they are dependent in every way, and which are 
traversed by great routes over ancient and much frequented 
passes — the Reschen Scheideck, the Stelvio, the Umbrail, 
and the Tonale, so that there was little necessity for any of 
these higher glens to communicate with each other. The 



other fact is that while the few valleys on the S. flank of our 
range are naturally and always have been attached to the 
Trentino (an Italian-speaking region), all the other glens that 
radiate from the Ortler range join either the upper Adige 
(Vintschgau) valley, or the upper Adda (Valtelline) valley — now 
these two great valleys have for centuries been closely associated 
politically and historically, first as belonging to the Three 
R^etian Leagues (or their predecessors in title), and later to 
the Habsburgers. Hence there did not exist the usual in- 
ducements to smuggle or drive an honest trade across the 
frontier, while if any one did wish to go from one valley to 
the other, he could, by a slight detour, well worth the extra 
labour, cross the Umbrail or the Stelvio Passes, without 
adventuring himself into trackless deserts of snow and ice. 
Even when in 1859 the Ortler range ceased to be completely 
Austrian and lost the Valtelline (held since 1814-15 — the 
Trentino having been finally annexed about the same time) and 
so became half-Italian, the habits acquired of old did not lose 
their force, and it was reserved for the early Alpine explorers to 
force passages over the mighty barrier of snow that had so long 
successfully held back the natives of the surrounding valleys. 

We have narrated above (see Chapter ix.) the history of the 
early attempts on, as well as of the first (1804) and early 
ascents of, the Ortler itself, which form a most interesting 
chapter in the history of mountaineering. After Thurwieser's 
expedition in 1834 the entire district remained unexplored, 
save by a few map surveyors, and it was not till 1864 that the 
detailed exploration of the group began. In the very first 
number (March, 1863) of the Alpine Journal there appears the 
following query, signed by the initials of a famous English 
climber of the day (Mr, A. W. Moore) : ' The Orteler Spitze. 
Can any mountaineer give an account of this mysterious peak ? 
Has it ever been ascended, except by the mythical Arch- 
duke?' The answer was given in the summer of 1864, when 
an English party climbed the Ortler, thirty years after the last 
successful ascent, and also made the first authentic ascenf of 
the Konigsspitze, the second peak of the district, A few days 


later in the same year an Austrian mountaineer reached the 
lower summit of Monte Cevedale, but was prevented by an icy 
wind from climbing the higher peak, which was conquered by 
another Austrian in 1865. From that date onwards the group 
became a favourite resort of climbers, particularly those of 
Austrian nationality. Nowadays Sulden is a sort of Tyrolese 
Zermatt, but is already no longer what Zermatt was in the sixties 
and early seventies. The other main centres, Trafoi and Santa 
Caterina, are by comparison but little visited, but the Ortler 
is so frequented that the Payer Club hut (9908 ft.) is really 
a Httle mountain inn with room for about a hundred tourists, 
(if not more), while it boasts of several waitresses who live 
there in summer, and also of a daily post from Sulden. 

Let us now take a leap across the Vintschgau and land on the 
outskirts of the Oetzthal range. The Oetzthal itself is a very 
long valley on the N. side of the group, and joins the Inn valley 
at a point considerably nearer Landeck (i6f miles) on the 
Arlberg railway than Innsbruck (28^^ miles). Near its head, 
some 26 or 27 miles from the Inn valley, the Oetzthal splits 
into two branches. That to the S.W. leads up to Vent 
(62 1 1 ft.), the cHmbing centre of the region, while that to the 
S.E. gives access to Ober Gurgl (6322 ft.), the highest per- 
manently inhabited village in the Eastern Alps. From the 
former village the easy glacier pass of the Hochjoch (9465 ft.), 
and from the latter the similar Niederjoch (so called, though 
higher, 9899 ft.), lead over into the narrow Schnals valley, 
the main means of access to the group from the S., as it joins 
the Adige valley some twelve miles S.W. of Meran. As the 
Vent region in old days formed part politically of the bailiwick 
of Kastelbell, in the Adige valley, and not of that of Petersberg, 
which took in the rest of the Oetz valley, communications over 
the Hochjoch must have been frequent in former times. The 
first passage actually recorded was made in 1601, when a local 
official went over it to visit the scene of the great damage caused 
the year preceding by the breaking out of a lake, formed by the 
advance of the Vernagt glacier, a little above Vent. As the 
highest pastures above Vent (those of Rofen, the refuge of 


Frederick with the Empty Pockets in 141 5) and Ober Gurgl 
still belong to men of the Schnals valley, it is clear that both 
passes have been traversed for generations. From Ober 
Gurgl another pass, the Gurgler Eisjoch (10,292 ft), com- 
municates with the deep-sunk Pfossen valley, the last farm in 
which, the Eishof (68 11 ft.), is stated to be the highest in the 
Eastern Alps. Further, from the point at which the Vent and Ober 
Gurgl glens split off, the track over the Timmeljoch (8232 ft.) 
not merely serves to mark off the main Oetzthal range from that 
of Stubai, but leads to the Passeier valley, famous as the former 
home (at or near its chief village, St. Leonhard) both of Andreas 
Hofer, the hero of the patriotic resistance to the French in 
1809, and shot by Napoleon at Mantua in 18 10, as well as of 
Josef Pichler, the brave man who first successfully stormed the 
Ortler in 1804. 

It has been said, rather cruelly, that the glaciers in the 
Oetzthal region are too big for the peaks that they surround. 
However that may be, the two longest glaciers of the district, 
those of Gepatsch (6| miles) and of Hintereis (6 miles), are 
only just beaten by the Pasterze (rather over 6^ miles) in the 
Glockner region. But it is true that many of the chief 
summits of the Oetzthal range, though sometimes elegant in form, 
give one the general impression of having been rounded and 
pressed down by Nature, so that, despite their height, they do 
not strike the spectator as much as might be expected. Of 
course there are exceptions to this, as to any general statements 
regarding an Alpine region. Of the two highest peaks of our 
region, the Weisskugel (12,291 ft.) rises on the main watershed 
of the Alps, and was climbed by two Schnalserthal peasants as 
far back as 1846. This is a very recent discovery, as the first 
ascent is generally placed in 1861, the real date of the ascent 
of the highest point of the Wildspitze (12,382 ft.) — its second 
peak 16 ft. lower, was reached in 1848 — which, though the 
monarch of the region, rises on a spur far N. of the main 
watershed. Most of the peaks of the Oetzthal range are com- 
paratively easy of access, and were attained in the first half of 
the nineteenth century. 


The one considerable valley in the Stubai whig of the 
Oetzthal range is very properly that of Stubai, which opens on 
the N.E. slope of the group, is nearly as long as that of Oetz, 
and, like it, splits, near its head, into several side glens. But the 
main valley joins the Brenner route about six miles S. of 
Innsbruck, whereas the Oetz valley unites with the Inn valley 
some 28i miles W. of that famous town. Its loftiest point, the' 
Zuckerhiitl, is but 11,520 ft. in height, so that the Stubai wing 
cannot compare in this respect with the Ortler or the Oetzthal 
ranges, while it was ascended only in 1863, the district indeed; 
coming into prominence among mountain explorers at a com- 
paratively late date, though Thurwieser was up the Fernerkogel 
(10,827 ft.) and the Habicht (10,758 ft.) as early as 1836. 
The Zuckerhiitl (the name being translated means 'Sugar 
cone ') stands some way to the N. of the main watershed, while 
it is also a little W. of the spot (occupied by the Wilder Pfaff, 
11,388 ft.), at which the Stubai group branches off in three armsj 
or ridges. Two of these enclose the head of the Stubai valley.' 
The second and the third close that of Ridnaun, to the S.E., 
and surround the most extensive glacier of the group, that of | 
Uebelthal (3! miles long). Now this glacier enjoys the proud;' 
pre-eminence (probably not to be equalled in the Alps) of 
possessing no fewer than four Club huts, one of these (a small] 
inn) being at the relatively enormous height of 10,411 ft. Iti 
is stated on apparently good evidence that while the average 
height of the main Stubai ridge is higher than anywhere else ini 
the Eastern Alps save in the Ortler group, the average steepness of j 
the mountain slopes is quite unsurpassed in this extensive region,] 
while it is wealthy in the point of Club huts, and in its entire^ 
length from N. to S. not a single non-glacier pass crosses the 
main ridge — surely features that suffice to distinguish what is 
by no means a group of first-class importance. 

17. LomT3ard Alps. — We borrow this name from Mr. Ball,] 
as it describes with tolerable accuracy the group that no^ 
comes before us. This extends from the head of the Lak( 
of Como to Trent, including all the ranges that stretch SJ 


of the Valtelline, and of a line drawn across the Aprica 
(3875 ft.) and Tonale Passes (6181 ft.). It is thus dearly 
marked off from other groups, the two passes named separating 
it from the Ortler group on the N. Our group is entirely 
Italian-speaking, while its W. slope is (since 1859, when Austria 
lost the Bergamasca to Italy) wholly Italian, though its E. slope 
forms part of the Trentino, or domains of the Bishop of Trent, 
which, secularised in 1803, finally passed into the possession of 
Austria in 1814. This slope, therefore, forms part of 'Italia 
irredenta.' Of course the entire group is far S. of the main 
watershed of the Alps, which runs through part of our Group 
16. But the political frontier is rather oddly drawn across the 
actual watershed of our present group, so that the three loftiest 
summits included in it rise some way off this frontier — the 
Presanella (11,694 ft.) and the Care Alto (11,369 ft.) to the E., 
and therefore w^holly in Austria, while the Adamello stands 
rather to the W., and so is wholly Italian. 

Like many other of our groups, the present is composed of 
a central mass and of two wings. But rarely can it happen 
that the wings are in such striking and extraordinary contrast 
to their topographical centre. 

That centre is composed of vast snow-fields, separated by low 
ridges, and rising at their outer edge into various small summits 
not very much raised above the general level — at least on the 
Austrian side, for the Italian side is far steeper. This great 
crumpled table-cloth of snow culminates in the Adamello 
(11,661 ft.), and falls to the N.E. in the extensive Mandron 
glacier that closes the head of a very long, finely forested glen, 
the Val di Genova (famous for its waterfalls), which is watered 
by the Sarca torrent. This stream, having from its source 
flowed eastwards, turns S. near Pinzolo (the tourist centre of 
the region), and again E. at Tione before it takes another S. 
bend at Alle Sarche and soon enters the Lake of Garda after 
a zigzag course. Now the central Adamello mass throws out 
to the S.E. a spur that rises in the Care Alto (11,369 ft.), while 
to the N.E., after a considerable fall, it rises once more to form 
first the fine rock peak of the Busazza (10,922 ft.), and then the 


snowy Presanella (11,694 ft.), the most striking, as well as the 
loftiest, peak of the region. 

E. of the Presanella the range falls to the low pass leading 
from Pinzolo to Dimaro in the Val di Sole, on which stands 
the sanctuary and great hotel of Campiglio. To the E. of a line 
drawn from Campiglio to Tione rise the Brenta Dolomites^ our 
first real Dolomite range, which attains the height of 10,420 ft. 
in the Cima Tosa, and 11,352 ft. in the Cima di Brenta, and 
which divides the Sarca valley (from Pinzolo to Tione) from 
the Adige valley between Mezzo Lombardo (where the Noce 
stream from the Tonale Pass falls in) and Trent. There is 
not very much snow in the Brenta Dolomites, but the splintered 
rock pinnacles are amazing in shape (some are actually named 
by the natives themselves the ' Fulmini,' that is, thunderbolts), 
while the great gateway of the Bocca di Brenta (8376 ft.), 
pierced between the two highest summits of the range, is 
often the first revelation of Dolomite fascinations to the 
traveller. On the Pinzolo side of the pass the Crozzon di 
Brenta (10,247 ft.) is a most imposing rock summit, while on 
the other slope the wanderer descends to the idyllic Lake of 
Molveno. The exploration of this most singular and remark- 
able range has been largely carried out by English travellers 
since Mr. Ball crossed the Bocca di Brenta in 1864; in 1865 
the Cima Tosa fell to him, and in 187 1 the Cima di Brenta 
to another English party, but the Crozzon was not overcome 
till 1884, and then by a German chmber. 

The central mass of the Adamello was mainly first explored, 
from 1864 to 1868, by an Austrian climber, Herr Payer, later 
of Arctic fame. In 1864 he climbed the Adamello, three weeks 
after an EngUsh party had vanquished the Presanella, while 
another English party captured the Care Alto in 1865, though 
the Busazza held out till conquered by two German travellers 
in 1889. A notable feature of the central Adamello mass 
is the number of wild and uninhabited (save by herdsmen 
in summer) glens that descend from it, like the spokes of half 
a wheel, to the S. (to the Chiese, that empties itself in the 
Lake of Garda), as well as to the W. and N.W. (in these 


cases the torrents sooner or later swell the Oglio in the Val 

To the W. of the central Adamello mass, and separated 
from it by the carriage road over the Aprica Pass (3875 ft.), 
stretches the range that forms the W. wing of our group — the 
Bergamasque Alps. Short steep glens descend on the N. slope 
to the Valtelline, while on the S. slope two considerable valleys 
descend from the highest crest towards Bergamo, the natural 
capital of the district — the Val Brembana and the Val Seriana. 
These are flanked on the W. by the Val Sassina and the Val 
Varrone, which pour their waters into the Lake of Como, while 
far to the E. of the two main valleys of the Bergamasque Alps 
is the Val di Scalve, a tributary of the Val Camonica or 
Oglio valley, that lower down forms the Lake of Iseo. The 
lower portion of the Val di Scalve is the most remarkable bit of 
all the Bergamasque valleys, for the imposing rock gorge carved 
out by the Dezzo torrent is now traversed by a very picturesque 
carriage road, so that this defile has been called the 'Via 
Mala Bergamasca.' Of the two main valleys the Val Seriana 
is the wilder and more Alpine, while the scenery of the Val 
Brembana is throughout extremely varied and picturesque. 

The easiest and most frequented pass across our range from 
Bergamo to the Valtelline is that of San Marco (6513 ft.), 
reached through a side glen of the Val Brembana and traversed 
by a mule path. A little below the pass, on the S. side, is a 
very ancient inn, that formerly displayed the golden-winged 
lion, as a sign that one was here on the Venetian territory, 
to which our region belonged from 1428 to 1797, becoming 
Austrian in 1815, and in 1859 Italian. This sign and inn 
are mentioned by the quaint early English traveller, Thomas 
Coryat {c. 1577-1617), familiarly known as the ' Odcombian 
Legstretcher,' who in 1608 made a pedestrian journey through 
Europe, in the course of which he crossed the Alps twice 
and traversed our Pass of San Marco. His object was to go 
from the Venetian Bergamo to the Rsetian Valtelline, while 
avoiding the Spanish Milanese. The highest summit of the 
Bergamasque Alps is the Pizzo di Coca (10,014 ft.), but the 


Pizzo di Scais (9974 ft), the Monte Redorta (9964 ft.), the 
Monte Gleno (9459 ft.), and the Presolana (8239 ft.) are better 
known to the few travellers who have as yet explored the 
higher portions of our range. Far more famous are the peaks, 
celebrated as splendid belvederes, of the Monte Legnone 
(8563 ft.) and of the Grigna (7907 ft.), both at the W. edge of 
the region, and not far from the E. shore of the Lake of Como. 
There are a few small glaciers in the Bergamasque Alps, 
high up on its N. slope, but the Brenta district is richer in this 
respect. The central Adamello mass far surpasses both, though 
the Nardis glacier (flowing from the Presanella towards Pinzolo) 
cannot rival in size the wide-spreading Mandron glacier, that 
sweeps down on the N.E. slope of the Adamello. Let us note, 
in taking leave of our district, that in all parts of it the term 
' vedretta ' is used for a glacier, thus showing that we are j 
within the sphere of influence of the Orisons and of the 
Eastern Alps. 

18. Central Tyrolese Alps, — Let us admit at once that this! 
name, like that of ' Bernese Alps,' is inaccurate. The whole of 
our present group is Austrian, just as the whole of the Bernese 
Alps is Swiss. But the 'Bernese Alps,' in the sense in which 
we used that title in Section 8 above, belong to several cantons 
other than that of Berne. Similarly our ' Central Tyrolese Alps' 
are by no means wholly in the Tyrol. The W. portion, com- 
prising the Zillerthal Alps, is, indeed, Tyrolese on both its 
slopes. But in the Tauern Alps the entire N. slope is in the 
province of Salzburg, while the S. slope is, as regards its more 
westerly portion, in Tyrol, though its S.E. extremity (Gross , 
Glockner region) is in Carinthia. Strictly speaking, our group] 
is thus only partially Tyrolese, as the ' Bernese Alps ' are only] 
partially Bernese. The name ' Tyrol ' is, however, used com- 
monly, if inexactly, as more or less equivalent to ' Eastern Alps/j 
and no doubt most of the 'Eastern Alps' are really situated within} 
the Tyrol. Now, as pointed out above (Chapters i. and vii.), the 
main watershed of the Alps is formed by our group (as the con- 
tinuation of Group 16) as far as the Dreiherrenspitze (11,500 ft.) 


in the Venediger region. There the main watershed of the Alps 
bends S. towards the Hadriatic (separating the Po basin from 
the Danube basin), Avhile the real backbone of the Alpine 
chain runs eastwards, though serving as a water-parting of two 
tributaries of the Danube. Many geographers prefer, therefore, 
to regard the Tauern Alps as the true continuation of the Alps, 
putting aside all consideration of watersheds, though hitherto 
those have played a great part in the delimitation of the Alps. 
Now, if we accept the 'backbone' theory, nothing is more 
natural than to speak of the ' Central Tyrolese Alps,' for it is 
undoubtedly the highest and most conspicuous mountain range 
in the Eastern Alps, and ' Tyrol ' is all but synonymous with 
the 'Eastern Alps.' The N. limit of our group is formed by 
the Enns valley and the Pinzgau, while to the S. it is bounded 
by the Pusterthal and the upper Drave valley. 

The W. half of our group consists of the Zillerthal range, 
and extends eastwards from the Brenner Pass to the Krimmler 
Tauern Pass, that divides it from the Gross Venediger section of 
the Tauern Alps. It takes its name, of course, from the 
Zillerthal (so called from its chief village, Zell) that opens on 
its N. slope and joins the Inn valley not far from Brixlegg, 
about twenty-seven miles N.E. of Innsbruck. From the point 
of view of physical geography it is made up of the union of a 
considerable number of glens, which, studied on a map, have 
the air of having been neatly marked out by a ruler, each 
descending from the main ridge in the same N.W. direction, 
though increasing in size as one advances eastwards. These 
glens are steep, and narrow, though the average inclination of 
the slopes of the main ridge are not (as is generally believed) 
steeper than is the case in the Stubai group, while the 
glaciers flowing from it are unusually crevassed. Naturally, 
owing to the musical talents of the Zillerthal folk, this valley is 
regarded as Tyrolese of the Tyrolese, though as a matter of 
history part of this valley was only secured to Tyrol from 
Bavaria (in the old sense) in 1505, while the stretch of the 
Zillerthal that had belonged to the Prince-archbishop of Salz- 
burg became an integral portion of the Tyrol as lately as 


1815. On the very crest of the main ridge of the Zillerthal 
Alps rise its highest summits that show an odd tendency to 
decrease in height from W. to E. — the Hochfeiler (11,559 ft.), 
the Mosele (11,438 ft.), the Thurnerkamp (11,228 ft.), and the 
Gross Loffler (11,096 ft.). The exploration of the higher 
regions of these Alps began early, for the Gr. Loffler fell in 1843, 
while in 1846 old Thurwieser conquered the Gr. Morchner 
(10,785 ft.). In 1865 an EngHsh party took the Mosele, till 
then supposed to surpass the Hochfeiler, but an Austrian 
climber five weeks later captured the Hochfeiler, while in 1872 
another English party won the Thurnerkamp. 

To the N.W. of the main Zillerthal range is the Tuxer chain, 
that culminates in the Olperer (11,418 ft.), the Fusstein (11,090 
ft.), and the Schrammacher (11,208 ft.), the first climbed by an 
Austrian in 1867, the second by an Englishman in 1880, and 
the third by Thurwieser in 1847. 

To the S.E. of the main Zillerthal group is the semi-inde- 
pendent -Rieserferner range, noteworthy for the relative difficulty 
of its rocky summits (of which the loftiest is the Hochgall, 
11,287 ft., and over it runs the main watershed of the Alps), the 
high average height of the principal ridge, and the number of 
inhabited glens that press up into it and so faciUtate access to 
its peaks and glaciers. 

It is a singular fact, which perhaps has not been clearly 
accounted for, that from the Brenner to the Radstadter Tauern — 
in other words, from one end of our range to the other — there 
are no carriage roads across the chief ridge, these only existing 
over the two passes just named, while the railway tunnel 
beneath the Hohe Tauern has just been pierced. It is said, 
indeed, that in this long range of eighty-five miles but a single 
pass, that of the Velber Tauern (8334 ft.), is passable for beasts 
of burden. Note that the numerous passes called ' Tauern,' as 
well as others, are snowless. 

The Tauern group, comprised between the Krimmler Tauern 
(8642 ft.) and the Radstadter Tauern (5702 ft.), is divided by 
nature into three masses, that of the Gross Venediger being 
separated from that of the Gross Glockner by the Velber 


Tauern Pass, while the last-named group is marked off from 
the Hochalmspitze or Ankogel group by the Hochthor or 
Heiligenbluter Tauern Pass (8442 ft.). 

In the Ve?iediger group the principal summits are the Gross 
Venediger itself (i 2,008 ft.), probably so named as it bordered on 
the county of Gorz (inherited by the Habsburgers in 1500) that 
occupied a part of the territory formerly held by the ancient 
Veneti (though never by Venice), and the Dreiherrenspitze 
(11,500 ft.), so called as on it met in old days the frontiers of 
the Tyrol, of Salzburg, and of Gorz. Both peaks stand on the 
main divide, while it is from the second that the main watershed 
of the Alps bends S., and parts company with what some 
writers consider the true backbone of the Alps. The Vene- 
diger group is the part of the Tauern range that can boast of 
the greatest extent of perpetual snow and of the Krimml waterfalls 
(the finest in the Eastern Alps), while it is said that the average 
elevation of the main ridge is slightly greater than that of the 
Glockner group. The Dreiherrenspitze was not climbed till 
1866, while above (Chapter ix.) we narrated the conquest of 
the Gross Venediger in 1841, after an unfortunate failure in 

The link between the Venediger and the Glockner groups 
is the mass that is crowned by the Sonnblick (10,128 ft.), which 
rises between the Velber Tauern, on the W., and the Kaiser 
Tauern (8242 ft.), on the E., but must be carefully distinguished 
from the more famous summit of the same name in the third 
of our Tauern groups. 

If the Venediger group has more extensive snow-fields than 
any other portion of the Tauern, the longest glacier (the Pasterze, 
rather over six and a quarter miles), as well as the highest summit, 
in the entire Tauern range, the Gross Glockner (12,461 ft.), are 
both comprised in the Glockner group. The Glockner takes its 
name from its bell-like shape, while its conquest in 1 799-1 800 
forms one of the earhest chapters in the history of mountaineer- 
ing, and all but the earliest in that of the Eastern Alps. Its 
more difficult neighbour, the Glocknerwand (12,209 ft.), did 
not allow the loftiest of its seven rock teeth to be scaled till 


1872, though the third highest summit of the region, the Gross 
Wiesbachhorn (11,713 ft.), was attained by some peasants at 
some date previous to 1799. I" curious contradistinction to 
the regularity observed in the case of the higher peaks of the 
Venediger and Zillerthal groups, these three great summits of 
the Glockner all rise some way off the main ridge (now the local 
watershed, no longer the main watershed of the Alps) — the two 
higher to its S., and the third to its N. — the fourth peak of the 
region, the Johannisberg (11,375 ft.), being the loftiest point on 
the watershed. Heiligenblut is the chief starting-point for the 
ascent of the Gross Glockner. It is the highest village (4196 ft.) 
in Carinthia, and takes its name from a flask of our Lord's 
Blood, brought from Constantinople by St. Brice, and now 
preserved, enclosed in a fine reliquary, in the fifteenth century 
village church that boasts also of a graceful spire and of a delicately 
and elaborately carved wooden high-altar. To the S. of the 
Glockner group rises the comparatively small mountain mass 
(provided, however, with glaciers) which bears the name of its 
best-known summit, the Hochschober (10,663 ft.), though the 
Gross Rother Knopf is 1 5 1 ft. higher. 

Beyond the Hochthor or Heiligenbluter Tauern Pass the 
range gradually sinks towards the Radstadter Tauern, forming 
on the way two surprisingly extensive snowy groups. One of 
these is that which culminates in the Hochnarr, more accurately 
written Hocharn (10,689 ft.), though its best-known summit is 
the true SonnbHck (10,191 ft.), on the top of which was built in 
1886 a Meteorological Observatory that boasts of being the 
loftiest in the Alps. To the N. of this group stretches the 
Rauris valley (in the province of Salzburg), celebrated for its 
gold-mines (the chief at the hamlet of Kolm-Saigurn, 5414 ft., 
now belong to an English company), which have given the 
name of ' Goldberg ' to the principal glacier at its head, while 
the remains of the old workings are still accessible by paths 
that are convenient for travellers. The highest miners' dwell- 
ing is situated on a rock that just rises above the level of the 
Goldberg glacier, and is at a height of 7681 ft. The numerous 
glacier passes (all easy) across this group are accounted for by 


the fact that many of the miners come from Carinthia on the S., 
and return home for the Sunday in summer and even in winter, 
so that these passes are well known and quite frequented. 

In the other group E. of the Glockner mass the main valley 
is that of Gastein, so well known since the fifteenth century for 
its hot mineral springs. At its head it splits into two branches, 
whence the Mallnitz or Nassfeld Tauern Pass (7920 ft.) and 
the Hohe or Korn Tauern Pass (8081 ft., beneath which the 
great Tauern tunnel, five and a quarter miles in length, has 
just been pierced) lead over to the Moll valley, a tributary 
of that of the Drave. Just E. of the Hohe Tauern Pass we 
come to the most easterly snow-covered range in the Alps, 
that which is crowned by the Hochalmspitze (11,008 ft.) and 
the Ankogel (10,673 ft.), a spur of which thrown out towards 
the E. bears the Hafnereck (10,043 ^O) the last of the snowy 
peaks of the Alps. The Ankogel was ascended as far back as 
about 1762 (the first traveller was old Thurwieser in 1822) and 
the Hafnereck in 1825, but the final rock summit of the 
Hochalmspitze was not attained till 1859. 

Some way N.E. of the Hafnereck is the Radstadter Tauern 
Pass (5702 ft.), which we have selected as the most easterly 
limit of the Alps in general, and so, of course, of the Eastern 
Alps. On its summit is a chapel and a churchyard for the 
reception of the remains of travellers who have lost their lives 
in these wilds, especially in winter. The oldest tomb is that 
of Wolfgang Wiesenegger, who died in 1582, after having kept 
the Tauern inn, twenty minutes below the pass on the N. side, 
for twenty-five years. His family continued to keep the inn for 
two hundred and thirty years, but sold it in 1818. It is said to 
be mentioned as early as 1526, while the date 1562 is still 
carved on its front. The pass itself was certainly known to the 
Romans, for it is mentioned under the name of 'in alpe' in the 
fourth century ' Peutinger Table,' while Roman milestones 
have been found near it. 

19. The Dolomites of the South Tyrol. — The present writer 
was somewhat taken aback a short time ago by the perusal of a 


letter of a valued correspondent relating to the Dolomites. It 
was therein maintained, first, that the Dolomites did not form 
part of the Alps, and next, that there were no Dolomites save 
in the neighbourhood of Cortina. Fortunately the answer to 
both statements was easy. No reply could possibly be given to 
the retort that if the Dolomites were not in the Alps, one would 
like to know where they were situated, for while they certainly 
are not comprised in the Carpathians, or in the Apennines, 
or in the Jura, or in the Pyrenees, yet admittedly they are in 
the Tyrol, which is commonly supposed to be included in the 
Alps. Next, the present writer felt quite certain, in consequence 
of his hasty journey through the district in 1876, that there were 
Dolomites elsewhere than at Cortina, and investigation showed 
this to be the case. Outside Cortina, there are Dolomites around 
the Grodnerthal, in the Rosengarten group, near Primiero and 
San Martino di Castrozza, and even to the E. of Cortina, in 
the Sexten valley. No doubt Cortina is the spot visited most 
by ordinary travellers in the region, for it lies on the great high- 
road by the Ampezzo Pass (5066 ft.) from Venice to Innsbruck ; 
but there are other and better climbing centres in the Dolomites, 
and it is dimly whispered that some visitors are not so fascinated 
by Cortina as is the case with the majority. 

As a matter of fact, the Dolomites form a series of serai- 
detached groups and ranges, comprised between the Brenner 
railway, on the W., and the route from Innichen over the Monte 
Croce Pass {5374 ft.) and down the Piave valley to Belluno, on 
the E., while the Pusterthal naturally marks off our region from 
that which we have called the ' Central Tyrolese Alps.' The 
Dolomite region thus forms a sort of irregular square oblong. 

The name of ' Dolomite ' signifies, as is generally known, a 
peculiar formation of limestone rocks, due to the chemical 
union of carbonate of lime and carbonate of magnesia, the 
former slightly predominating, so that Dolomite may be shortly] 
described as ' magnesian limestone.' It takes its name from a 
French geologist, who first visited them about 1789, Deodat de 
Gratet, Marquis de Dolomieu (i 750-1801), a village N.W. of: 
Grenoble in the Dauphine (see Section 3). He alludes to this 


peculiar kind of rock in a letter dated January 30, 1791. 
But the name ' Dolomite ' does not seem to occur earlier than 
a pamphlet published in 1802, and relating the journey of 
Dolomieu with a Danish friend in the environs of the St. Gotthard 
and the Simplon : it is therein noted that, at the head of the 
Val Canada, N.E. of Airolo, at the S. foot of the former pass, 
^ the Dolomite is very pure.' There are several other instances 
of the use of the term in the book, so that it does not seem 
to have been a novelty in 1802. It is curious that the singular 
Pizzo Columbe (8363 ft.), one of the most striking Swiss Dolo- 
mites, is not very far from the Val Canaria, being situated at 
the head of the neighbouring glen, on the way from Airolo 
over to the Lukmanier Pass. Of course there are Dolon ites in 
parts of the Alps other than the South Tyrol E. of the Adige 
Valley — so in the Dauphine, and N. of the village of Spliigen, 
and S. of that of Bergiin (see Section 13 above), not to omit 
the marvellous Brenta group, N.W. of Trent (see Section 17). 
But the Dolomites of South Tyrol cover a much greater amount 
of ground, while they are generally higher than those found 
elsewhere, despite the fact that the Piz d'Aela (10,959 ft-) in 
the Bergiin group, just does not surpass the highest Tyrolese 
Dolomite, the Marmolata (11,024 ft.). But the neighbours of 
the Piz d'Aela, the Tinzenhorn (10,430 ft.) and Piz Michel 
(10,378 ft.), are inferior in elevation to many of the great 
Tyrolese Dolomites, of which not a few are distinguished rather 
by their singular features than their mere height. 

As to the burning question of the origin of Dolomite rock, 
whether due to coral insects or to volcanic disturbance, it is best 
to preserve a discreet silence. Let our thoughts rather dwell on 
the wonderfully sheer rock-walls of the great Dolomite peaks 
splashed by startlingly brilliant bands of red, yellow, and so 
on, while crowned by the most fantastical conceivable rock 
pinnacles. It is hard to exaggerate the strange beauty of the 
Dolomites, although the glaciers are very small, and the slopes 
of roUing stones at the foot of each summit do make one 
long sometimes for green Swiss pastures and clear Alpine 
torrents. Mountaineers, while liking Dolomite chmbs, do not 


like the brittle Dolomite rock, so apt to scale off at critical 

We may distinguish six main groups in the Tyrolese Dolomites, 
two being included in either of the divisions, Western, Central, 
and Eastern Dolomites. 

(a) The first rises round the Groden valley (which joins the 
Eisack valley about fourteen miles N.E. of Botzen), famous as 
one of the last homes of the quaint old Ladin dialect (resembling 
that spoken in the Engadine), and as the seat of the manufac- 
ture of children's wooden toys (Noah's arks, soldiers, dolls), as 
well as of ' saints ' of the same material. Its capital is St. Ulrich, 
now a frequented summer-resort. On the N. of this valley rises 
the Geisler group, of which the highest point is the Sass Rigais 
(9932 ft.), though the towers to its S.W. more strongly attract 
the climber, in particular the loftiest (9407 ft.) of them, the 
Fermeda Tower, which only yielded to the foot of man in 1887. 
To the S. of the Groden valley we have the forbidding and 
massive Langkofel (10,427 ft.), flanked to the S.W. by the very 
difficult Grohmannspitze (10,207 ft.) — so called in honour of 
the Austrian who conquered the Langkofel in 1869 — and the 
still more arduous five-pointed Fiinffingerspitze (9833 ft.), which, 
vanquished in 1890 only, soon after became the height of 
fashion and the Mecca of the straitest sect of Dolomite climbers : 
the four main routes up it are so short, though extremely diffi- 
cult, that they have all been taken in one day, the peak being 
thus twice ' traversed ' within a few hours. 

{b) To the S.W. is the fantastic and long-drawn-out chain 
known as the Eosengarteji, the pale towers of which are so 
imposing when seen from Botzen, at their W. foot. The home 
of legends about King Laurin and his rose garden, few mortals 
ventured to force their way into this enchanted castle, with its 
numberless towers, turrets, and pinnacles, all of the boldest 
forms imaginable. The earliest adventurers, all English, had the 
good fortune to capture the two highest needles, the Kesselkogel 
(9846 ft.) in 1872, and the Rosengartenspitze (9781 ft.) in 1874. 
Success led to further doughty deeds, and soon came the 
familiarity that breeds contempt, and, alas, not infrequently 



leads to fatal accidents. In particular the rows of gaunt, sky- 
scraping, slender rock towers that rise to the N. of the lower of 
these two summits attracted attention, and won wide popularity 
among daring scramblers. Of the six Vajolet towers the loftiest 
(9256 ft.) was overcome in 1881, but its slightly lower neigh- 
bours, named, after their first conquerors, the Winkler and the 
Stabeler Towers, surrendered in 1887 and 1892 only, while 
the most terrible, though the lowest, of all, the Delago Tower, 
held out till 1895 : its ascent is described by the special guide- 
book for climbers in this region as 'extremely difficult, the 
climb borders on the impossible.' Still more to the N., and 
rather lower, though scarcely less frightful, are the three 
Grasleiten peaks, of which the central and highest is 8875 ft. 
high, and was captured by man in 1885. 

(c) It is quite a reUef to turn from these ghostly and hideously 
splendid pinnacles {belies horreiirs is indeed the word to describe 
them) to our third group (E. of the Rosengarten), that of the 
Marmolata (11,024 ft.), which, out of sheer perversity, being 
the culminating point of the Dolomites, is notwithstanding a 
snow peak of easy access, and so was subdued in the almost 
prehistoric days (for the Dolomites) of 1864. Its neighbour, 
the Vernel (10,519 ft.), however, is a grand rock summit, and 
maintains the Dolomite tradition (though it yielded in 1879) 
in brave fashion, offering smooth slabs of rock wherewith to 
tempt the climber armed with proper canvas ' climbing shoes,' 
soled with plaited hemp. 

{d) To the S. of the Marmolata group are the 'Peaks of 
Primiero,' or the Pala Group, which, to English readers, recalls 
the memory of Leslie Stephen, the first foreigner to invade their 
recesses, and to climb, in 1869, both the Cima di Ball (9 131 ft.) 
and the Cima di Fradusta (9649 ft.). In the present writer's 
opinion this set of Dolomites, next after the Rosengarten towers, 
best fulfils the expectations of one who has read about, but for 
long never set eyes on, any of the famous Dolomites. What 
sight can be more awe-inspiring and stupendous than the sharp 
rock needles of the Cima di Vezzana (10,470 ft.) and of the 
Cimone della Pala (10,453 ft.), soaring high above the dark 


forests of Paneveggio? What more startling than the twin 
paper-knife-like peaks of the Sass Maor (9239 ft.) and of the 
Cima della Madonna (9026 ft.), which seem to set the laws of 
gravitation at defiance ?— what more startling, indeed, save the 
fact that both have actually been subdued by puny man ? By 
comparison, the Pala di San Martino (9831 ft.) and the Cima di 
Canali (9338 ft.) seem coarse and clumsy, though the former is 
like a mountain castle, and the latter resembles a Gothic church. 
It is a source of genuine pride that most of these citadels of 
Nature were first won by English climbers, the Cimone della 
Pala in 1870, the Vezzana in 1872, the Sass Maor in 1875, and 
the Cima di Canali in 1879. The Madonna (after all but the 
lower summit of the Sass Maor) fell to two Austrians in 1886, 
as had in 1878, to two other Austrians, the Pala di San Martino, 
which had previously defeated many attempts, and was, to boot, 
hard to find, owing to the extraordinary vagueness of the maps 
available in the seventies. Nowadays San Martino di Castrozza 
is the recognised 'centre ' for admirers of the Primiero Dolomites, 
but the foreground at Primiero, some 2400 ft. lower down, with 
its contrast between southern vegetation and heaven-kissing 
Dolomite spires, has charms of its own. Let us recall the 
curious history of Primiero (noted in Chapter vii,), which has 
been Tyrolese since 1373, only ten years after the Habsburgers 
obtained the Tyrol itself. 

{e) When we move eastwards across the Cordevole valley 
(the lower part of which, with Caprile, became Venetian in 
1404, and so is now Italian, while the upper part of that valley 
belonged to the bishopric of Brixen, and so is now Tyrolese), 
we come first to the wonderful fluted rock-wall of the Monte 
Civetta (10,564 ft.). This mirrors itself in the limpid greenish- 
blue waters of the Lago d'AUeghe, through which, it is said, one 
can still perceive the ruins of the three villages destroyed in 1772 
by the great landslip from the W. that then took place. And now 
at last we reach the edge of the Coftina Dolomites, the only ones 
in the district, according to the friend whose views were quoted 
in the opening of this section. Our attention is first attracted 
by the Pelmo (10,397 ft.), midway, like a girdle, round whose 


^ ^b^^- 





flanks runs that singular half-open gallery by which access 
is best gained to the top, first attained in 1857 by Mr. John 
Ball, who thus had the honour of overcoming the first of 
the great Dolomite peaks of so terrible reputation. Rather to 
the N. of the Pelmo rises the Croda da Lago, a peak which is 
singular in that its higher summit (89 11 ft.) is easily attained, 
while its lower peak (23 ft. inferior) is one of the ' crack ' difficult 
Dolomite climbs. Still more to the N., across the broad open- 
ing of the Falzarego Pass (6946 ft.), stands the long ridge of the 
Tofana, with its three summits of nearly equal height, the central 
(10,633 ^^•) being the loftiest, and surpassed in the region by 
the Marmolata and by the Antelao only. But the Tofana is 
disappointing as a Dolomite, save from the Travenanzes glen 
on its W, side. 

Let us now take a flying leap across the Ampezzo or Boite 
valley to the range that limits it on the E., not overlooking the 
curious history of Cortina (see Chapter vii.), that has been 
permanently Tyrolese since 151 7, when Maximilian wrested it 
from Venice which had held it since 1420, so that the Italian 
(formerly Venetian) frontier is now drawn a very few miles be- 
low Cortina and above San Vito, these two villages being not 
quite seven miles from one another. 

Most to the N., and indeed just N.W. of the highest point of 
the Ampezzo Pass (5066 ft.), is the Hohe Gaisl or Croda Rossa 
(10,329 ft.), but far less known than its twin neighbours on the 
S. side of the same pass, the Monte Cristallo (10,496 ft.) 
and the Piz Popena (10,312 ft.) — the former is a favourite 
climb from Cortina, while the latter, more forbidding in 
aspect, is hardly more difficult, though much less visited. 
Another jump, this time over the depression of the Tre 
Croci Pass (5932 ft.), we come to the last of the great 
Cortina Dolomites, a magnificent trio indeed — the Sorapiss 
(10,594 ft.) and the Antelao (10,706 ft.), two of the three 
loftiest summits of the region, and vying with each other in 
savage grandeur, and the Marmarole (9715 ft.), a long, jagged 
ridge. These three peaks are particularly interesting in an 
unusual way, for at their S.E. foot is the picturesque little town 


of Cadore, perched above the junction of the Piave with the Boite,] 
as well as of the routes from the Ampezzo Pass and the Monte! 
Croce, and world-famous as the birthplace in 1477 of one of thai 
greatest masters of colour who has ever existed, Tiziano Vecellio,] 
best known as Titian (d. 1576): his Christian name comes) 
from a seventh century Bishop of Oderzo (N. of Venice and 
N.E. of Treviso), in the patriarchate of Aquileia. Now Titian is 
said to have reproduced in certain of his pictures the peaks 
which surrounded his mountain home. 

Such are the Cortina or Ampezzo Dolomites, the best known, 
though not the only Dolomites, and in the opinion of some, by 
no means the most characteristic or most wonderful of the 
Dolomites. They fell early, being situated conveniently near a 
great international route. Mr. Ball, as we have noted, took the 
Pelmo in 1857 ; then came an energetic Austrian climber, Herr 
P. Grohmann, who in 1863 captured both the Antelao and the 
Tofana, in 1864 the Sorapiss, and in 1865 the Monte Cristallo. 
In 1867 an Englishman scaled the Monte Civetta, in 1870 
another overcame the Hohe Gaisl and the Piz Popena, and in 
1872 two other Englishmen the E. but lower point of the 
Marmarole. But Austrians secured both peaks of the Croda da 
Lago in 1878 (the higher) and 1884 (the lower), as well as in 
1890 the W. and highest point of the Marmarole. English 
successes in the Dolomites are thus curiously less brilliant and 
numerous in the Cortina region than elsewhere, though Cortina 
is now so frequented by English. 

(/) Our sixth group of Dolomites rises to the N. of the cross- 
road from Auronzo past the lovely Misurina lake to Schluder- 
bach, and between the high-roads over the Ampezzo and the 
Monte Croce Passes. They take their name from the Sexten 
valley, on the N. slope of the Monte Croce Pass, as most of 
them arise round its head. A conspicuous exception, however, 
is formed by the most famous of all the peaks of this group, the 
celebrated Drei Zinnen (9853 ft. is the height of the central and 
highest point), once so dreaded, and still really difficult rock 
climbs, though it is whispered that the local guides are now 
quite expert in hoisting human ' sacks of potatoes ' up each, and 


indeed up all three in a day. The chief peak was overcome in 
1869, but the W. summit (9758 ft.), far more difficult, held out 
till 1879, while the enfant terrible of the party, the Kleine or 
E. Zinne (9452 ft.), did not feel the foot of man till 1881, its 
conquest marking a turning-point in Alpine climbing, as the 
impossible was moved one step farther away from human effort 
and daring. But the true Sexten Dolomites, less popular than 
the Three Teeth, are the grand rock towers of the Dreischuster- 
spitze (10,375 ft.), the Zwolferkofel (10,142 ft.), and the Elferkofel 
(10,220 ft.), which keep guard round the secluded Fischlein 
glen, above the village of Sexten or St. Veit. They surrendered 
to man in 1869, 1874, and 1878 respectively, the chief stormer, 
here as in the case of the Drei Zinnen, being Michael Inner- 
kofler, a brave and adventurous guide of Sexten, whose glorious 
career was brought to a sad end in 18S8 by an accident on the 
Monte Cristallo, when he had attained the age of but little over 
forty years. 

20. South-Eastern Alps. — It is a great fall, in every way, 
from the Dolomites to the last of our twenty groups. This 
includes three separate mountain masses, all situated to the E. 
of the Monte Croce Pass (5374 ft.) and S. of the Drave valley. 
Towards the E. they melt into the foot-hills extending towards 
the plains of Hungary, so that, to include in the * Alps ' all snow 
ranges of Central Europe, we have (as pointed out in Chapter i.) 
to make a great sweep eastwards from Villach past Klagenfurt 
to Marburg, and then another sweep in the opposite direction 
past Cilli and Laibach to Trieste. The entire region is 
apparently quite arbitrarily divided from a political point of 
view. So far as regards its W. portion (the Carnic Alps) the N. 
slope is Austrian, in Carinthia, while the S. slope is now Italian, 
since Venice in 1866 became Italian, for this district (known as 
Friuli) was Venetian from about 1420 onwards till it became 
Austrian in 1797. The main watershed of the Alps and the 
political frontier are identical from the Monte Croce Pass till 
near the Predil Pass, that is N.E. of the Monte Canin in the 
Julie Alps. Here they separate for the last time, the political 
2 A 


frontier bearing S. to reach the shores of the Hadriatic a Httle 
W. of Aquileia, while the main watershed keeps E. Thus the 
JuHc Alps and the Karawankas Alps are both wholly Austrian, 
save the S. and W. slopes of the most westerly bit of the former, 
which, since 1866, are Italian. In the Julie Alps the E. slope of 
Monte Canin and the W. or S. slope of the Terglou and the 
Manhart are in the county of Gorz, the E. and N. slope respectively 
of the two peaks last named being in Carniola. On the other 
hand, the Karawankas Alps rise on the ridge separating Carniola 
from Carinthia, though the E. slope of Grintouc is claimed by 
Styria. In point of language our group displays a similar 
diversity. The Austrian portions are all but wholly Slavonic- 
speaking, and it is said that unlucky travellers who find their 
way thither encounter considerable difficulties, if unacquainted 
with that tongue, as the inhabitants are strongly prejudiced 
against those who speak German. In the Italian portion, in 
Friuli, a rough form of the Ladin language (which we have 
already met in the Engadine and in the Groden valley), is spoken, 
though there are a number of German-speaking villages, such as 
Sappada, Sauris, and Timau, of which we have spoken in Chap- 
ter VI. above. 

Thus, in our group, the historical and linguistic interest is 
greater than that excited by its beauties from a picturesque 
point of view, though these are not wholly wanting (in a semi- 
Alpine form), according to the comparatively rare non-Austrian 
travellers who have explored it. 

Let us now briefly indicate the limits and relations of the 
three mountain masses that are generally included under the 
rather colourless name of the ' South-Eastern Alps.' 

A. The Carnic Alps start on the W. from the Monte Croce 
Pass, leading from Innichen to Belluno, and are most con- 
veniently limited on the E. by the railway that crosses the Pont- 
ebba or Saifnitz Pass (2615 ft.) from Villach past Tarvis and 
down the Fella or Ferro valley to that of the Tagliamento, and 
Udine, and so either to Trieste (S.E.), or to Venice (S.W.). 
The historical fortunes of the Pontebba Pass, as vvell as of those 


of the Plocken Pass or Monte Croce (4462 ft.), leading from 
Lienz by Tolmezzo to Udine — distinguish it carefully from the 
higher Monte Croce Pass that forms the limit between the 
Dolomites and the South-Eastern Alps — have been traced in 
Chapter viii. 

This range, as stated above, forms both a physical and a 
political frontier, and on its actual crest rise the twin peaks of 
the Monte Coglians (9128 ft.) and the Kellerwand (9105 ft.), 
the relative height of which was long disputed — the former was 
first attained in 1865, while the lower or W. summit of the 
latter was visited in 1868, though the higher or E. summit 
remained virgin till 1878. The Monte Peralba or Hochweisstein 
(8829 ft.), the third peak of the range, rises a little S. of the 
watershed, and so is wholly Italian, while it was ascended as far 
back as 1854 b} one of the Austrian map surveyors. 

B. The/uHc Alps form the natural continuation of the Carnic 
Alps, though bending S.E., and so abandoning the W. and E. 
direction of that chain. They thus start from the Pontebba 
Pass, on the W., and are limited to the N. by the upper Save 
valley as far as Laibach, this valley dividing them from the 
Karawankas. They include another famous historical pass, that 
of the Predil (see Chapter viii.), which, however, has always 
been overshadowed by its neighbour, the Pontebba. Near that 
pass, and N.E. of the Monte Canin (8471 ft.), which stands on 
the main watershed, this leaves the political (very conventional) 
frontier, and rises in the Manhart (8786 ft.), before culminating 
in the Terglou or Triglav (9400 ft.), the monarch of the South- 
Eastern Alps, first attained in 1778. Rather to the S.E. of the 
Terglou is the new Wochein tunnel (four miles in length), which, 
taken in combination with those beneath the Pyhrn Pass and 
the Hohe Tauern Pass, and through the Karawankas, affords a 
new and direct route from Vienna to Trieste. S. of the railway 
from Tarvis to Pontebba, and so enclosed between the routes 
over the Pontebba and the Predil Passes, rises the half-Italian 
group crowned by the Jof del Montasio or Montasch (9039 ft.), 
first climbed in 1877. At the extreme S.E. border of the Julie 


Alps is the ancient way from Laibach to Gorz and Trieste 
over the great wooded Carniolan limestone plateau (called the 
Birnbaumer IVa/d), the road attaining a height of 2897 ft., 
though this route is not a ' pass ' in the sense in which we have 
used that word in these pages. 

C. The Karawankas Alps rise between the upper Save valley 
and the reach of the Drave valley stretching from Villach to 
Marburg. The chief pass that traverses them, the Loibl Pass 
(4495 ft.), has not had so great historical importance as those 
we have mentioned above : the new Karawankas tunnel (nearly 
five miles) is a little to its W. Its peaks are of no great 
height, and being easily accessible, have, properly speaking, no 
'Alpine history.' The chief are the Grintouc (8429 ft.), the 
Stou (7346 ft), and the Velka Kappa (5059 ft.). 



N.B. — In each of the twenty groups into which we have divided the Alps 
the Peaks and Passes are arranged separately in order of height, the 
figures given being the elevation in English feet above the level of the 
sea, and taken from the most authoritative maps or other sources, 
while over or beneath those marked by a f runs a railway line. The 
Passes marked by an asterisk are traversed by carriage roads. 

A.— The Western Alps (from the Col de Tenda 
to the Simplon). 

(1) Maritime Alps (from the Col de Tenda to the 

Col de I'Argentiere). 

Peaks. Passes. 

Punta deir Argentera, 


Monte Stella, . 


Cima dei Gelas, 


Cima di Nasta, 


Monte Matto, . 


Cima della Maledia, . 


Mont Pelat, 


Mont Clapier, . 
Mont Tinibras, . 


Mont Enchastraye, 
Monte Bego, 
Mont Monnier, . 


Rocca deir Abisso, . 


Aiguille de Pelens, 


Passo del Pagarin, , 


Bassa di Druos, ' . 


Col della Ciriegia, 


Col des Granges Communes, 


Col delle Finestre, . 


*Col de la Cayolle, . 


*Col d'Allos or de Valge- 

laye, .... 


*Col de I'Argentiere, . 


*tCol de Tenda, 


(2) Cottian Alps (from the Col de TArgenti^re to the Mont Cenis, 
and E. of the Col du Galibier). 



Monte Vise, . . . 12,609 

Aiguille de Scolette, . . 11,500 

Aiguille de Chambeyron, . 11,155 

Grand Rubren, . . . 11,142 

Col Sommeiller, 
Col de la Traversette, 
Col d'Ambin, . 
Col d'Etache, . 





Cottian Alps — cojttinued. 

Brec de Chambeyron, 

Rognosa d'Etache, 

Dents d'Ambin, . 

Roche d'Ambin, 

Point de la Font Sancte, 

Visolotto, , 


Punta Sommeiller, 

Monte Ciusalet, 

Brie Froid, 

Grand Glayza, . 

Rognosa di Sestrieres, 

Pointe des Henvieres, 

Punta Gastaldi, . 

Panestrel, . 

Roche du Grand Galibier, 

Aiguille de Jean Rostan, 

Peou Roc, . 

Rocca Bernauda, 

Pic du Pelvat, . 

Pointe Haute de Mary, 

Pic du Thabor, . 

Roche Taillante, 

Mont Thabor, . 

Pointe des Cerces, 

Tete des Toillies, 

Mont Chaberton, 

Tete de Moyse (Oronaye), 

Pelvo d'Elva, . 

Mont Albergian, 

Brie Bouchet, 

Aiguille Noire (Rochilles), 

Punta Cournour, 







Col de I'Agnel, 

Col Girardin, . 

Col de Longet,. 
*Col du Galibier, 

Col de Maurin, 

Col de la Roue, 
tCol de Frejus, . 

Col de Clapier, 
*Col d'Izouard, . 

Col de la Croix, 
*Col de \'ars, . 
*Mont Cenis, 
*Col de Sestrieres, 
*Col de I'Argentiere, 
*Mont Genevre, . 

Col des Echelles de 
pinet, . 







(3) DaupMn^ Alps (W. of the Col du Galibier, and of the Guisane 
and the upper Durance valleys). 

Pointe des Ecrins, 


Meije, highest point, . 


Meije, central peak, . 


Ailefroide, .... 


Mont Pel voux, highest point, 


Mont Pelvoux, Pyramide, . 


Pic Sans Nom, . 


Meije, E. peak, . 


Pic Gaspard, 





Col de la Lauze, 

Col de la Casse Deserte, 

Col des Ecrins, . 

Col de la Pilatte, 

Col du Sele, 

Breche de la Meije, 

Col de la Temple, 

Col de la Coste Rouge, 

Col des Aiguilles d'Arves, 

Col du Says, 








Grande Sagne, . 


Col du Clot des Cavales, 


Pic Coolidge, 


Col Lombard, . 


Rateau, . . . . 


Col du Sellar, . 


Grande Ruine, . 


Col de la Muande, . 


Roche Faurio, . 


Col du Goleon, 


Pic Bourcet, 


*Col du Galibier, 




Col de la Muzelle, . 


Pic de la Grave, 


Col de I'Eychauda, . 


Montagne des Agneaux, 


Col des Pres Nouveaux, 


Les Bans, . . . . 


Col des Sept Laux, . 


Sommet des Rouies, . 


*Col du Lautaret, 


Aiguille du Plat, 


*Col du Glandon, 


Pic d'Olan, 


*Col d'Ornon, . 


Cime de Clot-Chatel, . 


*tCol de la Croix Haute, 




Pointe du Vallon des Etages 

, 11,693 

Tcte de I'Etret, . 


Pic Bonvoisin, . 


Aiguille d'Arves, 


Pic des Aupillous, 


Grandes Rousses, 


Roche de la Muzelle, . 




Pic du Says, 


Pointe des Areas, 


Aiguille des Arias, 


Aiguille du Soreiller, . 


Pic des Pres les Fonds, 


Tete de Lauranoure, . 


Mont Savoyat, . 


Pic de Verdonne, 


Roche du Grand Galibier, 


Cime du Grand Sauvage, 

• 10,594 

Pic du Clapier du Peyron, 


Vieux Chaillol, . 

• 10,378 

Tete de Vautisse, 

■ 10,375 

Pic des Souffles, . 

. 10,168 


• 9781 

Taillefer, . 

• 9387 



Grand Veymont, 


Mont Aiguille, . 


Grand Som, 



(4) Graian Alps (from the Mont Cenis to the Col de la Seigne). 
The main watershed forms the Central Graians, which are 
flanked E. and W. by two great mountain masses that are 
connected with it by two isthmuses. 


Grand Paradis (E.), . . 13>324 

Grivola (E.), . . . 13.022 

Petit Paradis (E.), • • 12,920 

Cresta Gastaldi (E.), • • 12,671 

Grande Casse (W.), . • 12,668 

Becca di Montandeyne (E.), 12,632 

Punta Bianca (Grivola) (E. ), 12,471 

Mont Pourri (W.), . . 12,428 

Mont Herbetet (E.), . • 12,396 

Pointe de Charbonel (C), • 12,336 
Aiguille de la Grande Sas- 

siere(C.), . . . 12,323 

Dent Parrachee (W.),. . • 12,179 

Punta Budden (E.), . ■ 12,153 
Tour du Grand St. Pierre 

(E.), .... 12,113 
Punta Nera (Grivola) (E.), 12,113 
Ciamarella(C.), . . • 12,061 
CimadiCharforon (E.), . 12,025 
Grande Motte (W.), . . 12,018 
Albaron(C.), . . • 12,015 
Punta Rossa (Grivola) (E.), 1 1,982 
Roccia Viva(E.), . . ii,976 
Tete de la Tribulation (E.), 1 1,949 
Levanna, central peak (C), ii,943 
Bessanese(C.), . . . Ii,9i7 
Pointe des Pattes des Cha- 
mois (C), . . . 11,917 
Punta di Gay (E.), . . 11,887 
Dome de I'Arpont (W.), . 11,874 
Pointe de Ronce(C.), . ",871 
Mont Thuria (W.), . . 11,861 
Domede la Sache (W.), . 11,848 
Tresenta (E.), . . . 11,841 
Bee de I'Invergnan (C), . 11,838 
Levanna, W. peak (C), . 11,835 
Tsanteleina(C.), . . 11,831 
Dome de Chasseforet (W.), 11,802 
Croce Rossa (C), . . 11,703 
Aiguille de Peclet (W.), . 11,700 
Levanna, E. peak (C), . 11,693 
Mont Emilias (E.), . . 11,677 
Becca di Monciair (E.), . 11,628 
Tetede Valnontey (E.), . 11,625 


Col de la Grande Rousse 

(C), . 
Col de Gebroulaz (W.), 
Col de Monei(E.), . 
Col du Grand Paradis (E. ) 
Col de Teleccio (E. ), 
Col de Grandcroux (E.), 
Col de Lauzon (E.), . 
Col de I'Herbetet (E.), 
Col du Collerin (C.),. 
Col de Bassac (C. ), . 
Col du Carro (C), . 
Col de la Goletta (C), 
Col de Rhemes (C.),. 
Col de Sea (C), 
Col de I'Autaret (C. ), 
ColdeGirard(C.), . 
Col d'Arnas (C), 
Col de la Galise (C). 
Fenetre de Champorcher 

(E.), . . . 
Colde Vaudet (C), . 
Col de Bardoney (E.), 
Col de Chaviere (W.), 
Colde la Leisse (W.), 
Col duMontIseran(C.-W. 
Coldu Palet(W.), . 
Col du Mont (C), . 
Col de la CroLx de Nivolet 

(C.-E.), . 
Col dela Vanoise(W.), 
Col de la Seigne (C), 
*LittleSt. Bernard (C), 
*Mont Cenis (C), 



















Picdu Ribon (C), • 

Punta d'Arnas (C), • 

Aiguille de Polset (W.), 

Rochemelon (C), 

Grivoletta(E.), . 


Grand Sertz (E.), 
^ Pointe du Chatelard (W.), 
' Pointe de Garin (E.), . 

Ondezana (E.), . 

Grand Nomenon (E.), 


Grande Aiguille Rousse (C. ] 

Cime de Quart dessus (C. ), 

Granta Parey (C), 

Roc du Mulinet (Martellot) 

(C), . . . 
Punta del Broglio (E.), 
Pointe de la Sana (W.), 
Doravidi Sud (C), 
Becca di Noaschetta (E.), 
Punta Francesetti (C. ), 
Levannetta (C.), 
Pointe del'Echelle(W.), 
Roche'r de Pierre Pointe 

(C), . 
Dome de Polset (W.), 
Sommet de Bellecote (W.), 
Becca di Suessa (C. ), • 
Punta del Tuf(E.), . 
Punta Foura (E.), 
Becca du Lac (C), 
Pointe des Sengies (E.), 
Monte Nero (E.), 
Pointe de la Gliere(W.), 
Punta Bonneval (C.), . 
Punta della Gura (C), 
Cima Monfret (C), • 
Pointe Renod (W.), . 
Pointe de Piatou (C.),. 
Bees de la Tribulation (E.), 
Pointe de la Galise _(C.), 
Pointe de la Traversiere (C. ) 
Monveso di Forzo (E.), 
Punta Lavina (E.), 
Punta Crevasse (E.), . 
Punta di Forzo (E.), . 
Pointe de la Goletta (C.), 
Cimed'Oin (C.), 
Tour d'Arpisson (E.),. 
Mont Favre (C. ), 















Graian Alps — continued. 


Grande Arolla (E.), . 


Signal du Mont Iseran (C.) 


Becca di Nona (E.), . 


Pointe de Lechaud (C), 


Torre d'OvardaCO, • 


Uja di Mondrone (C.), 


Crammont (C. )> • 


Mont Jovet (W.), 


Monte Civrari (C. ), . 



(5) Chain of Mont Blanc (from the Col de la Seigne to the 

Col Ferret). 



Mont Blanc, 


Col de la Brenva, 


Mont Blanc de Courmayeur 


Col Emile Rey, 


Piece Luigi Amedeo, . 


Col de Triolet, . 


Mont Maudit, . 


Col de la Tour Ronde, 


Dome du Goiiter, 


Col du Mont Dolent, 


Mont Blanc du Tacul, 


Col d'Argentiere, 


Grandes Jorasses, 


Col de Talefre, 


Aiguille Verte, . 


Col des Hirondelles,. 


Aiguille Blanche de Peteret 


Col de Leschaux, 


Aiguille de Bionnassay, 


Col de Miage, . 


Mont Brouillard, 


Col du Geant, . 


Les Droites, 


Col du Chardonnet, . 


Aiguille du Geant, 


Col du Tour, . 


Dome de Rochefort, . 


Fenetre de Saleinaz, . 


Aiguille de Rochefort, 


Col du Mont Tondu, 


Mont Mallet, 


Col Ferret, 


Calotte de Rochefort, 


Col de la Seigne, 


Aiguille de TrelatGte, 


Col de Sesanfe, 


Aiguille d'Argentiere, 


Col du Bonhomme, . 


Aiguille de Triolet, . 


Col de Sagerou, 


Les Courtes, 


Col d'Anterne, . 


Aiguille du Gouter, . 


Col de Balme, . 


Aiguille du Midi, 


Col de Coux, . 


Tour Noir, 

. 12,586 

Col de Voza, 


Aiguille des Glaciers, . 

• 12,579 

Col de la Golese, 

• 5482 

Mont Dolent, . 


*Col de la Forclaz, 


Aiguille du Chardonnet, 

. 12,540 

*+Col des Montets, . 


Tour Ronde, 

. 12,441 

*tPas de Morgins, 

• 451 

Aiguille Noire de Peteret, 

. 12,402 

Aiguille de Leschaux, 

• 12,369 


Aiguille du Dru (Grand Dru] 

, 12,320 


Aiguille de Talefre, . 

. 12,268 


Aiguille du Dru (Petit Dru) 

, 12,245 

Aiguille de la Neuvaz, 

. 12,241 


Aiguille de I'AUee Blanche 

, 12,156 

• ,' 




Aiguilles Rouges du Dolent, 


Dome de Miage, 


Aiguille du Plan, 


Petites Jorasses, 


Aiguille d'Entreves, . 


Grande Fourche, 


Aiguille de I'Eboulement, . 


Dames Anglaises, 


Aiguille du Tour, 


Aiguille de Toule, 


Aiguille de Blaitiere, . 


Aiguille de la Varappe (Ai 

guilles Dorees), . 


Grand Darrei, . 


Petit Darrei, 


Grande Luis, 


Les Periades, 


Aiguille de Grepon, . 


Aiguille Forbes, . 


Aiguille des Grands Char 

nioz, . 


Aiguille du Tacul, 


Dent du Requin, 


Aiguille du Moine, 


Pointe d'Orny, . 


Dent du Midi, . 


Tour Sallieres, . 


Mont Tondu, . 


Dent du Midi (Cime de I'Est 

), 10,434 



Pointe de Tanneverge, 


Pointe Percee du Reposoir, 


Pointe du CoUoney, . 

. 8832 

Catogne, . 


Mont Joly, . 




Point de Salles, . 


Aiguille de Varens, . 

. 8163 



Les Voirons, 





(6) Central Pennine Alps (from the Col Ferret to the 
St Theodule). 


Dent Blanche, 
Grand Combin, 

I Passes 

14,804 1 Morning Pass, . 

14,782 I Tiefenmattenjoch, 

14,318 I Col du Lion, . 

14,164 Col de Valpelline, 




Central Pennine klps—conlinued. 


Pointe de Graffeneire (Com 



bin), . 




Zinal Rothhorn, 


Col du Sonadon, 


Dent d'Herens, . 


Col d'Herens, . 


Bieshorn, . . . . 


Col Durand, 


Combin de Valsorey, . 


Col de Tournanche, . 


Combin de Zessetta, . 


Col des Maisons Blanches 


Ober Gabelhorn, 


Col de Bertol, . 


Grand Cornier, . 

. 13,022 



Ober Mominghorn, 

• 13,019 





Col du Mont Rouge, 


Wellenkuppe, . 


St. Theodule Pass, . 


Ruinette, . 


Col de Tracuit, 


Pointe de Moimtet, . 


Col d'Oren, . 


Pointe des Grandes Mu- 

Col de Seilon, . 




Col de Valcournera, . 


Mont Blanc de Seilon, 


Col de Collon, . 


Dents des Bouquetins, 


Col de Valsorey, 


Brunnegghorn, . 


Col de Torrent, 


Tete de Valpelline, 


Augstbord Pass, 


Pointe de Zinal, 


Col de Crete Seche, . 


Pigne d'Arolla, . 


Pas de Chevres, 


Mont Velan, 


Col de Sorebois, 


Tete Blanche, . 


Col de Vessona, 




Col de Fenetre, 


Trifthorn, . 


Z'Meiden Pass, 


Tete du Lion, . 

. 12,215 

Col Serena, 


Combin de Corbassiere, 


Col Ferret, 


Mont Pleureur, . 

• 12,159 

*Great St. Bernard, . 


Aiguille des Maisons 

Blanches, , 

. 12,136 

Crete de Millon, 

■ 12,133 

Dent Perroc, 

. 12,071 

Pointe des Genevois, . 


Gross Hohwanghorn, . 

. 12,068 

Lo Besso, . 

. 12,058 

Aiguille de la Za, 

. 12,051 

Pointe de BricoUa, 


Aiguilles Rouges d'Arolla, 

• 11,976 

Mont Collon, 

• 11,956 

Dents des Rosses, 

. 11,887 

Mont Brul6, 

. 11,880 

Diablons, . 

. 11,828 

Amianthe, . 

. 11,812 

Stockhorn (Col d'Herens), 

• 11,795 

Pointe de Mourti, 

. 11,762 


• 11,725 



Dents de Bertol, 

. 11,666 

Bee d'Epicoun, . 

• 11,572 





Mont Gele, 


Bee de Luseney, 

Aiguille Verte de Valsorey 

Chateau des Dames, . 

. 11,503 

, 11,493 




Becca d'Arbiera, 




Pointe d'Otemma, 


Punta del Dragone, . 


Punta di Fontanella, . 


Pointe de Rosa Blanche, 


Mont Avril, 


Mont Fort, 


Grande Rochere, 




Grand GoUiaz, . 


Cima di Livournea, . 


Schwarzhorn (Augstbord), 
Bella Tola, 



(7) Eastern Pennine Alps (from the St. Theodule to the 



Monte Rosa (Dufourspitze), 15,217 

Monte Rosa (Grenzgipfel), . 15,194 

Monte Rosa (Nord End), . 15,132 

Monte Rosa (Zumsteinspitze), 1 5,004 
Monte Rosa (Signalkuppe or 

Punta Gnifetti), . . 14,965 

Dom (Mischabelhorner), . 14,942 

Ivyskamm, .... 14,889 

Taschhorn,. . . . 14,758 

Monte Rosa (Parrotspitze), . 14,643 

Monte Rosa (Ludwigshohe), 14,259 

Nadelhorn, . . . 14,220 

Siidlenzspitze, . . . 14,108 

Stecknadelhorn, . . 13,896 

Hohberghorn, . . . 13,865 

Monte Rosa (Schwarzhorn), 13,882 

Castor (Twins), . . . 13,879 
Monte Rosa (Vincent Pyra- 

mide), .... 13,829 

Alphubel, .... 13,803 

Rimpfischhorn, . . . 13,790 

Strahlhorn, . . . 13,751 

Zermatt Breithorn, . . 13,685 

Monte Rosa (Balmenhorn) . 13,500 

Pollux, .... 13,433 



Colle Gnifetti, 




Lysjoch, . 

Colle Vincent, 


Fee Pass, 

Alphubel Pass, 

Adler Pass, 


Schwarzberg Weissthor, 

Ried Pass, 

New Weissthor, 

Allalin Pass, 

Colle delle Loccie, 

St. Theodule Pass, 

Zwischbergen Pass, 

Cimes Blanches, 

Col d'Olen, 

Monte Moro, 

Antrona Pass, 

Turlo Pass, 










Eastern Pennine Alps — contimied. 


Monte Rosa (Punta Giordani), 





Rossbodenhorn, . 

Jagerhorn, . 


Klein Matterhorn, 

Cima di Jazzi, 



Stockhoin (Gornergiat), 

Monte delle Loccie, 


Grand Tournalin, 

Corno Bianco. . 



Mattwaldhorn, . 

Pizzo Bianco, 

Latelhorn, . 

Rothhorn di Gressoney, 


Mont Neri, 


Riffelhorn, . 

Monte Bo, . 








Col de Valdobbia, 
Col de Moud, . 
Col d'Egua, 
*tSimplon Pass, 
Baranca Pass, . 




B. — The Central Alps (from the Simplon to the 
Reschen Scheideck Pass and the Stelvio). 

(8) Bernese Alps (from the Lake of Geneva to the Lake of Lucerne, 
N. of the Rhone valley and of the Furka Pass, and W. of the 
Reuss valley). 

Finsteraaihorn, . 


Lauithor, . 






Jvmgfrau, . 


Jungfraujoch, . 




Strahlegg Pass, 

10, 995 

Gross Schreckhorn, . 




Gross Fiescherhorn, . 


Oberaarjoch, . 


Gross Grlinhorn, 


Gauli Pass, 


Gross Lauteraarhorn , . 








Gletscherhoin, . 

. 13.065 


. 10,512 


- I3>042 


• 10,355 

Ebnefluh, . 


Beich Pass, 







• 12,970 

Sustenlimmi, . 


Trugberg, highest point, 

. 12,904 

Tschingel Pass, 




Hohthlirli Pass, 


Gross Wannehorn, 


Lotschen Pass, . 



• 12,779 

Sefinenfurka, . 

• 8583 


• 12,697 

Wendenjoch, . 



. 12,694 

Furtwang Pass, 


Schonbuhlhorn, . 

. 12,678 

*Furka Pass, 



• 12,540 

Rawil Pass, 


Gross Nesthorn . 

• 12,533 

Gemmi Pass, . 



. 12,501 

Surenen Pass, . 



• 12,491 

*Suscen Pass, 


Lauterbrunnen Breithorn, 

• 12,399 

Sanetsch Pass, . 



• 12,353 

Joch Pass, 


Gross Nassihorn, 

. 12,300 

*'Grimsel Pass, . 



. 12,297 

tKleine Scheidegg, 


Geisshorn, . 


Col de Cheville, 




Grosse Scheidegg, 


Klein Lauteraarhorn, . 

• 12,277 

+C0I de Jaman, . 




*+Brunig Pass, . 


Klein Wannehorn, 


Balmhorn, . 


Mittelhorn (Weiterhorn), 




Hasle Jungfrau (Wetterhorr 

), 12,149 

Rothhorn (Fusshorner), 


Rosenhorn (Wetterhorn), . 


Klein Nassihorn, 






Weisse Frau, 


Trugberg, central point, 




Gross Doldenhorn, 






Altels, . . . . 






Fusshorn, . . . . 


Hugihorn, . . . . 








Tschingelhorn, . 


Unterbachhorn, . 





Bernese Alps — continued. 



Trugberg, lowest point, 



Klein Schreckhorn, 

Gwachtenhorn (Stein) 


Gross Rinderhorn, 


Gspaltenhorn, . 


Scheidegg Wetterhorn 



Klein Bietschhorn, 


Hinter Sustenhorn, 





Rizlihorn, . 


Wildhorn, . 




Gross Spannort, 

Wellborn, . 


Klein Spannort, 







Grand Muveran, 

Gross Lohner, . 

Gross Wendenstock, 


Sparrhorn, . 

Fiinffingerspitze (Stein), 


Grande Dent de Morales, 



Uri Rothstock, . 

Tour St. Martin, 













































Gross Sidelhorn, 




Gross Engelhorn, 




Pierre Cabotz, . 


Tschingelochtighorn, . 


Faulhorn, . 


King's Peak (Engelhorner), 


Simmelistock, . 




Vanil Noir 


Niesen, . . . . 


Brienzer Rothhorn, 


Hohgant, . 




Kaiseregg, . . . . 


Pilatus (Tomlishorn), . 




Rochers de Naye, 


Moleson, . 


Dent de Jaman, . 


Napf, . . . . 



(9) Lepontine Alps (from the Simplon to the Spliigen Pass, 
S. of the Furka and Oberalp Passes). 


Monte Leone, 




Siedel Rothhorn 

Basodino, . 

Piz Tambo, 



Ofenhorn, . 


Vogelberg, . 


Piz Medel, . 


Pizzo Rotondo, 


Piz Vial, . 

Pizzo dei Piani, 

Punta Mottiscia, 

Piz Terri, . 


2 B 








Zapport Pass, . 




Hohsand Pass, . 


Lecki Pass, 


Rotondo Pass, . 


Wyttenwasser Pass, . 


Kaltwasser Pass, 


Fanella Pass, . 


Plattenschlucht Pass, 


Scaradra Pass, . 


Satteltellicke, . 


Ritter Pass, 


Cavanna Pass, . 


Scatta Minoja, . 


Forcla di Cristallina, 


Bocca di Cadlimo, 


Unteralp Pass, . 






Geisspfad Pass, 


Gries Pass, 


Passo di Naret, 



Lepontine Alps — continued. 


Piz Scharboden, 


Nufenen Pass, . 


Piz Aul, . . . . 


*Furka Pass, 


Pizzo di Pesciora, 


Bocca di Curciusa, . 




Diesrut Pass, . 


Pizzo Terre, 


Albrun Pass, 


Wyttenwasserstock, . 


Greina Pass, 


Campo Tencia, . 


San Giacomo Pass, . 




Passo di Buffalora, . 


Cima dei Cogni, . 


Passo della Forcola, . 




Passo deir Uomo, 

• 7258 



*Splugen Pass, . 


Cima di Balniscio, 


*tSt. Gotthard Pass, . 


Banhorn, . 


*San Bernardino Pass, 




*Oberalp Pass, . 


Piz Bias, . 


*+Simplon Pass, 



. 9918 

Passo di San Jorio, . 


Monte Giove, 


*Lukmanier Pass, 


Pizzo Centrale, . 


Pizzas d'Annarosa, 


Piz Beverin, 




Bettlihorn, . 


Piz Lucendro, . 


Piz Tomiil, 


Neufelgiuhorn, . 


Gross Schienhorn, 




Six Madun (Badus), . 


Klein Schienhorn, . 


Piz Muraun, 


Zervreilerhorn, . 


Monte Cistella, . 


Piz Lukmanier, . 


Monte Prosa, 


Pizzo Columbe, . 

• 8363 

Monte Camoghe, 


Piz Mundann, 


Monte Generoso, 


Monte San Salvatore, 



(10) The Range of the Todi (Oberalp Pass to the Klausen Pass 
and the Lake of Walenstadt). 


Todi (Piz Rusein), 
Todi (darner), . 
Todi (Sandgipfel) 

I Passes. 

11,8871 Porta da Spescha, . . 11,024 

11,815 Clariden Pass, . . . 9741 

11,2671 Planura Pass, . . . 9646 






Stockgron, . 

. 11,214 

Piz Urlaun, 

. 11,060 


. 10,926 



Gross Scheerhorn, 


Claridenstock, . 






Brigelserhorner (Kavestrau 

) 10,663 

Vogelbers^, . 


Grosse Windgalle 




Gross Ruchen, . 


Biindtner Todi, . 


Piz Segnes, 


Piz Giuf, . 






Selbsanft, . 


Vorab, . . . . 


Kleine Windgalle, 




Piz Sol, . 


Calanda, . . . . 




Magereu, . . . . 





Sardona Pass, 
Sand Alp Pass, 
Brunni Pass, 
Segnes Pass, 
Kisten Pass, 
Panixer Pass, 
Kriizli Pass, 
Foo Pass, 
*OberaIp Pass, 
*Klausen Pass, 


(11) The Alps of North-East Switzerland (N. of the 
Klausen Pass and the Lake of Walenstadt). 


Gliimisch, . 


Boser Faulen, 






Altmann, . 


Faulfirst, . 







641 1 

Gross Mythen, . 


Rigikulm, . 


Hoher Kasten, 


Rossberg, . 


Albis Hochwacht 


Uetliberg, . 




Karren Alp Pass, 

*Klausen Pass, 

Kamor Pass, 

Pragel Pass, 

Hacken Pass, 

Holzegg Pass, 
*Ibergeregg Pass, 
*Etzel Pass, 


681 1 




(12) Bernina Alps (from the Maloja to the Reschen Scheideck and 
the Stelvio, N. of the Valtelline and E. of the Val Bregaglia 
and the Engadine). 



Piz Bernina, 

Piz Zupo, . 

Pizzo Bianco (Bernina 

Monte di Scerscen, 

Piz Roseg, higher point 

Piz Argient, 

Piz Roseg, lower point 

Piz Palii, . 

Crast' Agiizza, 

Piz Morteratsch, 

Monte della Disgrazia 

Bellavista, . 

Piz Prievlusa, 

Piz Cambrena, 

Piz Tschierva, 

Pizzo di Verona 

Piz Corvatsch, 

Piz Tremoggia, 

Cima di Piazzi, 

Cima di Castello 

II Chapiitschin, 

Cima Viola, 

Piz Cengalo, 

Cima di Rosso, 

Pizzo Torrone, 

Cima di Cantone 

Corno di Lago Spal 

Monte Sissone, 

Punta Rasica, 

Pizzo Scalino, 

Corno Sinigaglia (Corni d 

Piz Badile, . 
Cima di Vazzeda 
Corno di Campo, 
Pizzo del Ferro (Bregaglia) 
Pizzo di Dosde, 
Cima di Saoseo, 
Piz Languard, 
Pizzi Gemelli, 
Piz Misaun, 
Piz Bacone, 
Sciora di dentro 
Corno di Dosde 
Piz Sesvenna, 
Pioda di Sciora, 











Fuorcla Bellavista, 

Fuorcla Sella, . 

Fuorcla Crast' Agiizza 

Fuorcla Tschierva, 

Passo di Bondo, 

Passo di Castello, 

Passo Tremoggia, 

Passo di Mello, 

Diavolezza Pass, 

Passo di Dosde, 
*Stelvio Pass, 

Passo di Sacco, 

Passo di Zocca . 

Casana Pass, 

Muretto Pass, . 

Canciano Pass, . 
*Umbrail Pass, . 

Stretta Pass, 

Passo di Val Viola, 

Giufplan (Buffalora) Pass, 
*Bernina Pass, . 
*Forcola di Livigno, 

Cruschetta Pass, 

Passo di Verva, 

Schlinig Pass, . 

Foscagno Pass, 

Alpisella Pass, . 
*Scarl Pass, 

Dossradond Pass, 

Dheira Pass, 
*Ofen Pass, 

Fraele Pass, 

Scale di Fraele, 
*Maloja Pass, 
*Reschen Scheideck, 
















Ago di Sciora, . 


Sciora di fuori, . 


Piz Surlej, . 


Cima del Largo, 


Piz Pisoc, . 


Monte di Zocca, 


Piz Murtarol, 


Piz Plavna dadaint, . 


Piz Tavru, . 


Monte Valnera, . 


Pizzo della Margna, . 


Piz Quatervals, . 


Monte Cornacchia, . 


Sasso di Conca, . 


Cime di Redasco, 


Piz Pisoc, S. peak. 


Piz d'Esen, 


Corno di Capra, 


Piz Aguagliouls . 


Piz Schumbraida, 


Piz Zuort, . 


Piz Lischanna, . 


Piz San Jon, 


Pizzo di Sena (Vetta Sper 

ella), . . . 


Pizzo Porcellizzo, 


Piz Casana, 


Piz del Diavel, . 


Monte Saliente, . 


Piz Laschadurella, 


Monte Foscagno, 


Monte del Ferro (Livigno), 


Pizzo del Teo, . 


Piz Grass, . 


Piz Umbrail, 


Pizzo Ligoncio, . 


Zwei Schwestern, 


Monte Braulio, . 




Sassalbo, . . . . 


Dreisprachenspitze, . 


Munt la Schera, . 


(13) Albula Group (from the Splugen to the Fliiela and the 

Maloja Passes). 

Peaks. ( Passes. 

PizKesch, . . . • 11,228! Fuorcla Calderas, . . 10,270 

Piz dellas Calderas, 
Piz Platta, . 

11,132 Fuorcla d'Es-chia, 
11,109 , Passo della Duana, 



Albula Group — continued. 

Pizjulier, . . . . 


Piz d'Err, . . . . 


Piz d'Aela, 


Piz Uertsch, 


Piz P^orbisch, 


PizOt, . . . . 


Gross Piz Vadret, 


Piz d'Agnelli, . 


Piz d'Arblatsch, . 


Piz Timun or d'Emet, 




Piz Lagrev, 


Piz Michel, 


Pizzo Stella, 


Fliiela Schwarzhorn, . 


Pizzo della Duana, 


Pizzo Gallegione, 


Piz d'Albana, . 


Hoch Ducan, 


Piz Grisch, 


Averser Weissberg, . 


Piz Por, . 




Arosa Rothhorn, 


Pizzo Lunghino, 





Sertig Pass, 

Forcella di Prassignola, 

Forcella di Lago, 


Ducan Pass, 

Passo di Lei, . 

Forcella di Lunghino, 

Scaletta Pass, . 

Fuorcla d'Alp Fontauna, 

Grialetsch Pass, 
*Fluela Pass, 

Strela Pass, 
*t Albula Pass, . 

Septimer Pass, . 
*Julier Pass, 

Passo di Madesimo, . 
*Splugen Pass, . 
*Maloja Pass, . 
*tLaret Pass, 







(14) Silvretta and Rhatikon Group (from the Fliiela Pass to the 
Reschen Scheideck and the Arlberg Pass). 


Piz Linard, 



. 11,165 

Gross Piz Buin, . 

. 10,880 



Muttler, . 


Piz Fliana, 

. 10,775 

Klein Piz Buin, . 


Stammerspitz, . 


Silvrettahorn, . 

. 10,657 




. 10,539 


■ 10,539 


. 10,483 



Piz Tasna, 

. 10,443 

Kuchenspitze, . 



Jamjoch, . . • .10,112 

Fuorcla del Confin, . . 10,033 

Buinliicke, . • • 10,020 

Silvretta Pass, . • 9886 

Zahnliicke, . • • 9712 

Verstanklathor, . - 9682 

Fuorcla d'Urezzas, . • 95^4 

Fuorcla Tasna, . . 9374 

Fermunt Pass, . . . 9^93 

Futschol Pass, . . . 9098 

Fuorcla Zadrell, . • 9033 

Schafbiicheljoch, . . 8685 

Fimber Pass, . . • 8570 

Valtorta (Vereina) Pass, . 8540 

Zebles Pass, . • • 8350 

Fless Pass, . • • 8045 







Hoher Riffler, . . . 10,368 | 

Piz Mondin, 




Gross Seehorn, . 




Gross Litzner, . 

10,207 ! 





Piz Minschun, . 


Patteriol, . 










Sulzfluh, . 




Naafkopf, . 





*Fluela Pass, 


St. Antonierjoch, 










Schweizerthor, . 






*tArlberg Pass, 


*Reschen Scheideck, . 


C. — The Eastern Alps (from the Reschen Scheideck 
and the Stelvio to the Radstadter Tauern). 

(15) The Alps of Bavaria, the Vorarlberg, and Salzburg (N. of 

the Arlberg Pass, Innsbruck, the Pinzgau, and the Enns valley). 




Zugspitze, . 




E. Hohe Griesspitze, 


Birkkarspitze (Karwendel) 



Gross Krottenkopf (Allgiiu) 

Selbhorn, . 

Hohes Licht, 



W. Karwendelspitze. 

Elmauer Haltspitze, 




851 1 



Schrofen Pass, 

Gerlos Pass, 
*Pass Thurn, 
*Fern Pass, 
*Scharnitz or Seefeld 
*Hirschbuhel Pass, 
tHochfilzen Pass, 
t*Pyhrn Pass, . 








(16) Ortler, Oetzthal, and Stubai Ranges (from the Reschen 
Scheideck and the Stelvio to the Brenner Pass, E. and S. of the 
Inn valley, and N. of the Tonale and Aprica Passes). 



Ortler (0.), 


Hochjoch (0.), . 


Kdnigsspitze (O.), 


Vioz Pass(0.), . 


Monte Cevedale (O.), 


Sonklarscharte (Stubai), 


Wildspitze (Oetzth.), • 


Konigsjoch (0.), 


Weisskugel (Oetzth.), 


Passo del Cevedale (O.), 


Monte Zebru (0.), . 


Gepatschjoch (Oetzth.), 




Ramoljoch (Oetzth.), . 


Punta San Matteo (O.j, 


Langtaufererjoch (Oetzth. ) 


Monte Vioz (0.), 


Bildstockljoch (St.), . 


Thurwieserspitze (0.), 


Gurgler Eisjoch (Oetzth.), 


Hinter Brochkogel (Oetzth. 

), 11,930 

Eissee Pass (O.), 


Hintere Schwarze (Oetzth.) 

, 11,920 

Langthalerjoch (Oetzth.), 


Punta Taviela (0.), . 


Passo del Zebru (0.),. 


Similaun (Oetzth. ), 


Sallentjoch (0.), 


Pizzo Tresero (0.), 


Niederjoch (Oetzth.), . 


Trafoier Eisvvand (0.), 


Sforzellina Pass (O.), . 


Gross Ramolkogel (Oetzth. ) 


Pitzthalerjoch (Oetzth.), 


Vertainspitze (O.), 


Eisjochl am Bild (Oetzth.), 


Weisseespitze (Oetzth.), 


Venter Hochjoch (Oetzth.) 


Watzesspitze (Oetzth.), 


Tabarettascharte (0.), 


Hochvernagtspitze (Oetzth. 

, 11,585 

*Stelvio Pass (0.), . 


Monte Rosole (0.), . 


Gavia Pass (0. -A.), . 


Finailspitze (Oetzth.), 


Timmeljoch (St. -Oetzth.), 


Zuckerhiitl (St.), 


Taufen Pass (St.), 


Behalf kogel (Oetzth.), 




Schrankogel (St. ), 


*Reschen Scheideck (0. 

Hohe Wilde (Oetzth.), 


Oetzth.), . 


Sonklarspitze (St.), . 


*tBrenner Pass (St. -Z.), 


Ruderhofspitze (St.), . 


*Aprica Pass, 

. 3875 

Wilder Pfaff( St.), . 


Tuckettspitze (0.), . 


Wilder Freiger (St.), . 


Veneziaspitze (0.), 



), 11,083 

Monte Confinale (0.), 

• 11,057 

Glockthurm (Oetzth.), 


Hintere Rothspitze (0.), 


Fernerkogel (St.), 


Monte So'bretta (O.), . 

. 10,814 

Strahlkogel (St.), 

. 10,794 

Habicht (St.), . 


Pflerscher Tribulaun (St.), 

. 10,178 



(17) Lombard Alps (from the Lake of Como to near Tirano in the 
Adige valley, S. of the Valtelline and of the Tonale and Aprica 
Passes, thus including the Bergamasque Alps). 


Presanella (A.), . 


Adamello (A.), . 


Care Alto (A.), . 


Dosson di Geneva (A.), 


Corno di Baitone (A.), 


Busazza (A.), 


Monte Venerocolo (A.), 


Lobbia Alta (A.), 


Cima Tosa (A.), 


Cima di Brenta (A.), • 


Crozzon di Brenta (A.), 

. 10,247 

Cima d'Ambies (A.), . 


Pizzo di Coca (B.), 


Pizzo di Scais (B.), 


Monte Redorta (B.), . 


Torre di Brenta (A.)) • 


Campanile di Brenta (A.), 


Pietra Grande (A.), 


Guglia di Brenta (A.), 


Re di Castello (A.), • 


Recastello (B.), . 


Monte Gleno(B.), . 


Monte Tornello (B.), • 


Corno Stella (B.), 

■ 8596 

Monte Legnone (B.), • 

. 8563 

Pizzo dei Tre Signori (B.), 


Pizzo di Presolana (B. ), 

■ 8239 

Grigna (B. ), 


Monte Baldo (A.), 


Monte Spinale (A.), . 


Monte Roen (A.), 


Monte Gazza (A.), 


Monte Resegone (B.), 



Passo di Lares (A. ), . 


Passo della Lobbia Alta 


(A.), . . . 


Presena Pass (A.), • 


Pisgana Pass (A.), • 


Bocca di Tuckett (A.), 


Passo di Val Morta (B.), 


Bocca di Brenta (A.), 


Passo del Groste (A.), 


Passo di Venina (B.), 


Passo del Salto(B.),. 


Passo del Venerocolo (B.), 


Passo di Campo (A. ), 


Passo di Dordona (B), 


Passo di San Marco (B.), 


Croce Domini Pass (A.), 




Passo di Zovetto (B.), 


CoUe Maniva (A.), . 


* Passo Campo (A.), . 


Gampenjoch (A.), 


*tMendelPass(A.), • 


*Passo di Castione (B. ), 




(18) Central Tyrolese Alps (from the Brenner Pass to the 
Radstadter Tauern, N. of the Pusterthal and the upper Drave 
valley, and S. of the Pinzgau and the Enns valley). This 
group includes the independent Riesenferner group that rises 
S. of the main Tauern group. 


Gross Glockner (T.), . 
Glocknerwand (T.), . 
Gross Venediger (T.), 

j Passes. 

12,461 Mitterbachjoch (Z.), 

12,209 I Riffelthor(T.), . 

12,008 ' Trippachsattel (Z.), . 



Central Tyrolese Alps — continued. 


Gross Wiesbachhorn (T.), 
Rainerhorn (T.), 
Hochfeiler (Z.), . 
Dreiherrenspitze (T. ), 
Simonyspitze (T.), 
Mosele (Z. ), 
Johannisberg (T. ), 
Hochgall (R.), . 
Thurnerkamp (Z. ), 
Schrammacher (Z. ), 
Daberspitze (T. ), 
Gross Loffler (Z. ), 
Fussstein (Z. ), . 
Schwarzenstein (Z.), 
Gross Geiger (T. ), 
Ruthnerhorn (R.), 
Hochalmspitze (T.)> 
Reichenspitze (Z. ), 
Gross Rother Knopf (T.), 
Gross Morchner (Z.), 
Wildgall(R.), . 
Hochnarr or Hocharn (T. 
Ankogel(T.), . 
Hochschober (T. ), 
Kitzsteinhorn (T. ), 
Gross Greiner (Z. ), 
Sonnblick (T. ), . 
Zsigmondyspitze (Z. ), 
Hafnereck (T.), . 
Reckner (Z.), 







Bockkarscharte (T.), 
Alpeinerscharte (Z.), 
Ober Sulzbachthorl (T.), 
Antholzerscharte (R. ), 
Goldzechscharte (T. ), 
Fragantscharte (T. ), . 
Kleine Zirknitzscharte(T. ) 
Grosse Elendscharte (T.), 
Krimmler Tauern (Z. -T.), 
Heiligenbluter Tauern or 

Hochthor (T.), . 
Velber Tauern (T.), . 
Kaiser Tauern (T.), . 
tHohe Tauern (T.), . 
Mallnitzer Tauern (T.), 
Tuxerjoch (Z. ), 
Klammljoch (R.-T.), 
Arlscharte (T. ), 
Pfitscherjoch (Z.), 
Kals Matreierthorl (T. ), 
Stallersattel (R.), • 
*Radstadter Tauern (T.), 





(19) The Dolomites of the South Tyrol (from the Brenner route 
to the Monte Croce Pass, and S. of the Pusterthal). 






Tofana (central summit). 


Sorapiss, . 


Monte Civetta, . 




Monte Cristallo,. 


Cima di Vezzana, 

. 10,470 

Cimone della Pala, 



Passo d'Ombretta, . 


Langkofeljoch, . 


Tschagerjoch, . 


Grasleiten Pass, 


Passo di Pravitale, . 


Passo delle Comelle, 


Passo della Rosetta, . 


Vajolet Pass, . 

■ 8363 

Passo di Canali, 








Tiersalpljochl, . 


Pelmo, . . . . 


Passo di Ball, . 




Forcella di Giralba, . 


Boespitze, . . . . 


Col dei Bos, 


Croda Rossa (Hohe Gaisl) . 


Forcella Grande, 


Piz Popena, 


*Pordoi Pass, 


Sasso Vernale, . 


Sellajoch, . 




Tre Sassi Pass, . 








Grodenerjoch, . 

701 1 



"Falzarego Pass, 


Sass Rigais (Geislerspitzen) 


Fedaja Pass, 


Crosse Furquetta ( ., ) 


Passo di Valles, 


Grosse Zinne, 


*Rolle Pass, 


Kesselkogel (Rosengarten) 


Forcella Forada, 




Passo di San Pellegrino, 


Pala di San Martino, . 


Forcella d'AUeghe, . 


Croda Grande, . 


*Tre Croci Pass, 




*Karersee (Caressa) Pass, 


Vordere (W.) Zinne, . 


*Monte Croce Pass, . 


Marmarole, higher peak, 


*Ampezzo Pass, . 


Marmarole, lower peak, 


Cereda Pass, . 


Cima di Fradusta, 


*tToblach Pass, 


Kleine Zinne, 


Fermedathurm, . 


Cima d'Asta, 


Cima di Canali, . 


Croda Grande, . 


Vajoletthurm (highest), 


Sass Maor, 


Dirupi di Larsec, 


Cima di Ball, 


Delagothurm, . 


Cima della Madonna, 




Croda da Lago, . 


Central Grasleitenspitze, 


W. Grasleitenspitze, . 




Sasso di Mur, 


Cinque Torri, 


Cima delle Dodici, 


Monte Pavione, . 


Cima di Posta, . 


Monte Pasubio, . 




(20) South Eastern Alps (E. of the Monte Croce Pass, and 
S. of the upper Drave valley). 

N.B. — The letters, ' C,' 'J,' and ' K,' indicate to which division of 
this group— the Carnic, Karawankas, or Julie Alps— the Peak 
or Pass belongs. 


Terglou (J.), . 
Monte Coglians (C), 
Kellerwand (C. ), 
Jof del Montasio (J.) 
Cima dei Preti (C. ), 
Monte Peralba (C), 
ManhartQ.), . 
Jalouc (J.), 
Monte Canin (J. ), 
Monte Cridola (C. ), 
Grintouc (K. ), 
Prestrelenik (J.), 
Monte Cavallo (C.) 
Krn(J.), . 
Stou (K.), . 
Dobratsch (C), . 
Velka Kappa (K.), 





Wolayer Pass (C), . 


*Monte Croce Pass (C), 




Plocken Pass(C.), . 


*Predil Pass(J.), 


*Birnbaumer Wald (J. ), 


t*Saifnitz or Pontebba 

Pass (C.-J.), 







N.B. — I. Where not otherwise stated, the date given refers to the ascent of 
the highest point of the summit named. 

2. If several peaks were climbed in the same year the names are placed in 

topographical order according to the twenty groups enumerated in 
Appendix I. 

3. The numerals appended to each name refer to the aforesaid twenty 


4. The asterisk prefixed to certain names signifies that the first recorded 

ascent was made solely or jointly by Englishmen, among whom the 
present writer, an American, has ventured to include himself. 


Rochemelon (4). 

Mont Aiguille (3). 

By 1654 

W. Karwendelspitze (15). 

Before 1694 
Mont Thabor (2). 

Before 1707 
Piz Beverin (9). 

Between 1716 and 1742 

Scesaplana (14). 

Titlis (8). 

About 1762 
Ankogel (18). 


Terglou (20). 




Mont Velan (6). 


Scopi (9). 

Aiguille and Dome du Gouter {5). 
Dent du Midi (5). 


Mont Blanc {5). 


Hangendgletscherhorn (8). 
Grande Dent de Morcles (8). 
Stockgron (lo). 



Pizzo Bianco (7). 
Rothhorn di Gressoney (7). 
Rheinwaldhorn (9). 

Between 1792 and 1797 

Uri Rothstock (8). 

About 1792 
' Blaues Gletscherhorn ' (8). 


Theodulhorn (6). 
Klein Matterhorn (7). 
Oberalpstock (10). 


Piz Urlaun (10). 

Before 1799 
Gross Wiesbachhorn (18). 


Gross Glockner (18). 


Punta Giordani (7). 

Piz Aul (9). 

Piz Scharboden (9). 

Piz Terri (9). 

Ortler (16). 




Giiferhorn (9). 

About 1810 
Aiguille de la Grande Sassiere 


Jungfrau (8). 

Between 1811 and 1818 
Rizlihorn (8). 


Finsteraarhorn (8). 


Zermatt Breithorn (7). 


Before 1817 
Mettenberg (8). 

Before 1819 
Rochebrune (3). 


Vincent Pyramide (7). 


Zumsteinspitze, Monte Rosa (7). 
Zugspitze (15). 


Roche d'Ambin (2). 
Ludwigshohe (7). 


Grand Rubren (2). 
Bristenstock (10). 


Todi (10). 


Hafnereck (18). 

Before 1827 
Hochnarr or Hocharn (18). 

Between 1828 and 1835 
Piz Tambo (9). 


Torrenthorn (8). 


Mont Pelvoux, Pyramide (3). 
Schalfkogel (16). 


Kleine Windgiille (10). 


Mont Clapier (i). 
Becca di Nona (4). 
Hausstock (10). 
Dachstein (15). 




Altels (8). 
Similaun (16). 




Sasseneire (6). 

Oldenhorn (8). 

Piz Palii, lower point (I2). 


Piz Linard (14). 


Mont Tinibras (i). 
Rognosa di Sestrieres (2). 
Gstellihorn (8). 
Madelegabel (15). 
Fernerkogel (16). 

Central Aiguille d'Arves (3). 

Before 1840 
Galenstock (S). 


Mattwaldhorn (7). 
Schrankogel (16), 


Sustenhorn (8). 
Ewigschneehorn (8). 
Diissistock (10). 
Gross Venediger (18). 

Tersiva (4). 

Cime de I'Est de la Dent du 
Midi (5). 
♦Stockhorn (Col d'Herens) (6). 
Signalkuppe of Monte Rosa (7). 
*Riffelhorn (7). 
Gross Lauteraarhorn (8). 
Gross Scheerhom (10). 
Vorab (10). 


Wildhorn (8). 
Gross Loffler (18). 


Rosenhorn, Wetterhorn (8). 
Hasle Jungfrau, Wetterhorn (8). 
*Wasenhorn (9). 
Johannisberg (18). 


*Mittelhorn, Wetterhorn (8). 
Ploch Ducan (13). 


Piz Surlej (12). 

Piz Aguagliouls (12). 

Piz d'Esen (12). 

Piz Languard (12). 

Piz Lischanna (12). 

Piz Kesch, lower point (13). 

Weisskugel (16). 

Gross Morchner (18). 


Schrammacher (18). 


Mont Pelvoux, highest point (3). 

Grenzgipfel of Monte Rosa (7). 

Ulrichshorn (7). 
*Stockhorn (Gornergrat) (7). 
*Gornergrat (7). 

Grosse Windgalle, lower point (10). 

Piz Quatervals (12). 

Zimbaspitze (14). 

Wildspitze, lower point (16). 


Tete Blanche (6). 

Krone (14). 

Piz Mondin (14). 


Diablerets (8). 
Piz Bernina (12). 
II Chaplitschin (12). 
Piz Tschierva (12). 
Piz Corvatsch (12). 
Piz Misaun (12). 

Combin de Corbassiere (6). 

Hohe Wilde (16). 
Schwarzenstein (18). 
Hochschober (18), 


Glarner Todi (10). 
Glockthurm (16). 


*Ostspitze of Monte Rosa (7). 
*Strahlhorn (7). 
Rossbodenhorn (7). 


*Cima di Jazzi (7). 
Gross Rinderhorn (8). 
Monte Vioz {16) 
Hochgall (18). 
Monte Peralba (20). 

Before 1855 

Mont Emilius (4). 

*Mont Blanc du Tacul (5). 
*Monte Rosa, highest point (7). 
Weissmies (7). 


Aiguille du Midi (5). 
*Mont Avril (6). 
*Mettelhorn (6). 
*Allalinhorn (7). 
*Laquinhoin (7). 

Wildstrubel, W. peak (8). 


Ciamarella (4). 

Bessanese, lower point (4). 

Croce Rossa (4). 

Levanna, E. peak (4). 

Pointe de Graffeneire (6). 

Tete du Lion (6). 

*Klein Schreckhorn (8). 
*Trugberg, lowest point (8). 
*Wildstrubel, central peak (8). 

Pizzo della Margna (12). 

Piz dellas Calderas (13). 
*Pelmo (19). 


Rutor (4). 

Punta Bianca, Grivola (4). 
*D6me de Miage (5). 

Tour Sallieres (5). 
*Dom (7). 

Nadelhorn (7). 
*Eiger (8). 

Piz Morteratsch (12). 

Muttler (14). 

Hinter Brochkogel (16). 


* Grivola (4). 
Grand Combin (6). 
*Rimpfischhorn (7). 

*Aletschhorn (8). 
*Bietschhorn (8). 

Monte Leone (9). 

Piz Julier (12). 

Piz Tremoggia (12). 

Pizzo Stella (13). 

Pizzo della Duana (13). 

Rainerhorn (18). 

Hochalmspitze (18). 

Before 1860 
Levanna, W. peak (4). 


*Grand Paradis (4). 
*Grande Casse (4). 
*Signal du Mont Iseran (4). 
*Chateau des Dames (6). 
*Alphubel (7). 
*BlUmlisalphorn (8). 
*Oberaarhorn (8). 


*Monte Viso (2). 

*Aiguille and Dome de Polset (4). 

*Doravidi Sud (4). 

Mont Pourri (4). 
*D6me de la Sache (4). 
*Mont Gele (6), 
*Weisshorn (6). 
*Nord End of Monte Rosa (7). 
*Castor (7). 
*Lyskamm (7). 
*Gross Schreckhorn (8). 
*Gwachtenhorn (8). 

Piz Segnes (10). 

Pizzo Gallegione (13). 

Piz Grisch (13). 

Fluchthorn (14). 

Wildspitze, higher point (16). 


Pointe de Charbonel (4). 
*Dent Blanche (6). 

Lo Besso (6). 
*Taschhorn (7). 
*Gross Fiescherhorn (8). 

Weisse Frau (8). 

Gross Doldenhorn (8), 
*Monte della Disgrazia (12). 




*Grandes Rousses, N. peak {3). 

*Granta Parey (4). 

*Pointe de Tanneverge (5). 

*Dent d'Herens (6). 

*Diablons (6). 

*Parrotspitze, Monte Rosa (7). 

*Balfrin (7). 

Silberhorn (8). 

Schlossberg (8). 

Basodino (9). 

Helsenhorn (9). 

Bifertenstock (10). 

Claridenstock (10). 

Selbsanft (10). 

Piz Zupo (12). 
*Piz Roseg, lower point (12). 

Piz Cambrena (12). 

Zuckerhlitl (16). 

Antelao (19). 

Tofana, central peak (19). 

Before 1864 
Dent Parrachee (4). 


Cima dei Gelas (i). 
*Pointe des Ecrins (3). 
*Punta Rossa, Grivola (4). 
*Grande Motte (4). 
*Aiguille d'Argentiere (5). 
*Aiguille de Trelatete (5). 
*Aiguille du Tour (5). 
*Mont Dolent (5). 
*Zinal Rothhorn (6). 
*Bouquetin (6). 

Punta di Fontanella (6). 

Pollux (7). 
*Balmhorn (8). 

Fleckistock (8). 

Berglistock (8). 

Studerhorn (8). 

Gross Wannehorn (8). 

Ochsenhorn (8). 

Ofenhorn (9). 
*Vogelberg (9). 
*Gross Ruchen (10). 

Piz Sol (10). 
*Monte Sissone (12). 
*Piz Kesch, higher point (13). 

Hoher Riflfler(i4). 
*Kdnigsspitze (16). 

Monte Cevedale, lower point (16). 

2 C 

Monte Venerocolo (17). 
*Presanella (17). 
Adamello (17). 
Marmolata (19). 
Sorapiss (19). 

Before 1865 
Brunnegghorn (6). 


*Tsanteleina (4). 

* Petit Mont Bassac (4). 

*Aiguille Verte (5). 

*Grandes Jorasses, lower point (5). 

*Aiguille de Bionnassay (5). 

*Aiguille du Chardonnet (5). 

■•'Matterhorn (6). 

*Ober Gabelhorn (6). 

*Grand Cornier (6). 

*Wellenkuppe (6). 

*Trifthorn (6). 

*Pigne d'Arolla (6). 

Mont Blanc de Seilon (6). 
*Ruinette (6). 

Pointe de Rosa Blanche (6). 

Gross Griinhorn (8). 
*Lauterbrunnen Breithorn (8). 
*Tschingelhorn (8). 

Stuckhstock (8). 
*Gross Nesthorn (8). 

Dammastock (8). 

Piz Medel {9). 

Ringelspitz (10). 
*Piz Roseg, higher point (12). 

Piz Umbrail (12). 

Crast' Agiizza (12). 

Piz Pisoc (12). 

Piz d'Aela (13). 

Gross Piz Buin (14). 

Silvrettahorn (14). 
*Punta San Matteo (16). 
*Pizzo Tresero (16). 

Monte Cevedale, higher point (16). 

Finailspitze (16). 

Hochvernagtspitze (16). 

Ruderhofspitze (16). 

Wilder Freiger (16). 
*Care Alto(i7). 
*Cima Tosa (17). 
*Mosele (18). 

Hochfeiler (18). 

Monte Cristallo (19). 

Monte Coglians {20). 



*Albaron (4). 
Monveso di Forzo (4). 
Punta Lavina (4). 
Pointe de Garin (4). 
*Aiguille de I'Eboulement (5). 
Bee d'Epicoun (6). 
Pointe d'Otemma (6). 
Mont Fort (6). 
*Bec de Luseney (6). 
Tete de Valpelline (6). 
*Klein Wannehorn (8). 

Wellborn (8). 
*Blindenhorn (9). 
*Cima di Castello (12). 
*Piz Cengalo (12). 
*Pizzo Scalino (12). 
*Corno di Campo (12). 
*Corno di Dosde (12). 
*Corno di Lago Spalmo (12). 

Piz Platta (13). 
*Tinzenhorn {13). 
*Piz Vadret, lower point (13). 
Verstanklahorn (14). 
Gross Litzner (14). 
Monte Zebru (16). 
Tuckettspitze (16). 
*Punta Taviela (16). 
*Monte Rosole (16). 
Dreiherrenspitze (18). 
Ruthnerhorn (18). 


*Tour du Grand St. Pierre (4). 
Tresenta (4). 
Punta Foura {4). 
*Tour Ronde (5). 
*Mont Collon(6). 
Eveque (6). 
Mont Pleureur (6). 
*Jagerhorn (7). 
*'Gletscherhorn (8). 
*Gross Spannort (8). 
Campo Tencia (9). 
Btindtner Todi (10). 
Miirtscbenstock (10). 
Cima di Piazzi (12). 
*Piz Badile(i2). 
*Cima di Rosso (12). 
*Piz Michel (13). 
*Piz Vadret, higher point (13). 
*Hintere Rothspitze (16). 

Palon della Mare {16). 
Hint ere Schwarze (16). 
Olperer (18). 
*Monte Civetta (19). 


*Grandes Jorasses, higher point (5). 

Aiguille de la Za (6). 

Grosshorn (8). 
*Ebnefluh (8). 
*Dreieckhorn (8). 
*Kronte (8). 

Tschingelhorner (10). 

Bellavista (12). 
*Piz Palu, highest point (12). 


Petit Paradis (4). 

Pointe de Ronce (4). 
*Hohberghorn (7). 

Morgenhorn (8). 
*Gspaltenhorn (8). 

Schienhorn (8). 

Breitlauihorn (S). 

Pizzo Rotondo (9). 

Piz Avgient (12). 

Surettahorn (13). 

Piz Fliana (14) 

Gross Seehorn (14). 

Parseierspitze (15). 

Thurwieserspitze (16). 

Sonklarspitze (16). 

Watzesspitze (16). 

Langkofel (19). 

Grosse Zinne (19). 
*Cima di Ball (19). 
*Cimadi Fradusta (19). 

Dreischusterspitze (19). 


*Meije, central peak (3). 
*Ailefroide (3). 

Pointe de Zinal (6). 
*5iidlenzspitze (7). 

Trugberg. central point (8). 

Drusenfluh (14). 

Weisseespitze (16). 

Wilder PfafF( 16). 

Pizzo di Presolana (17). 
*Cimone della Pala (19). 
*Rosetta (19). 
*Piz Popena (19). 
*Hohe Gaisl or Croda Rossa (19). 




Monte Stella (i). 

Punta Sommeiller (2). 

Monte Ciusalet (2). 

Cima di Charforon (4). 
* Aiguille du Plan (5). 
*Aigiiille du Moine (5). 
*Mont Mallet (5). 
*Dents des Bouquetins (6). 
*Dent Perroc (6). 

Pointe de Mountet (6). 
*Portjengrat (7). 
*Rothhorn, Fusshorner (8.) 

Trugberg, highest point (8). 

Piz Lucendro (9). 

Piz Bias (9). 

Sandgipfel (10). 

Porphir (10). 

Cima di Brenta (17). 

Gross Geiger (18). 

Simonyspitze (18). 


*Aiguille de Leschaux (5). 

Combin de Valsorey (6). 
*Aigiiilles Rouges d'Arolla (6). 
*x\gassizhorn (8). 
*Unterbachhorn (8). 

Scheuchzerhorn (8). 

Grunerhorn (8). 

Wildstrubel, highest point (8). 

Zapporthorn (9). 

Trafoier Eiswand (16). 
*Thurnerkamp (18). 


Gross Rother Knopf (18). 

Glocknerwand (18). 
*Cima di Vezzana (19). 
*Kesselkogel (Rosengarlen) (19). 
*Marinarole, lower peak (19). 


*Grande Ruine {3). 
*Rateau (3). 

*Soinmet des Rouies (3). 
*Roche Faurio (3). 
*Montagne des Agneaux (3). 

Mont Herbetet (4). 

Bessanese, higher point (4). 

Punta d'Arnas (4). 
*Aiguille de Rochefort (5). 
*Schallihorn (6). 

Schwarzhorn, Monte Rosa (7). 

*Gross Wendenstock (8). 
Gross Greiner (18). 
Daberspitze (18). 


Grandes Rousses, S. peak (3). 
*Pic de la Grave (3). 
*Mont Thuria (4). 

Punta di Ceresole (4). 

Roccia Viva (4). 

Bee de I'lnvergnan (4). 
*Aiguille de Blaitiere (5). 
*Aiguille de Triolet (5). 

Aiguille des Maisons Blanches (6). 

Monte delle Loccie (7). 

Patteriol (14). 

Zwolferkofel {19). 
*Rosengartenspitze (19). 


Aiguille de Scolette (2). 

Dents d'Ambin (2). 

Rognosa d'Etache (2). 
*Roche de la Muzelle {3). 

Punta di Gay (4). 

Becca di Montandeyne (4). 

Levanna, central peak (4). 

Bees de la Tribulation (4). 

Balmenhorn, Monte Rosa (7). 

Gross Lohner (8). 

Cima Viola (12). 
*Sass Maor (19). 


Brie Bouchet (2). 

Roche Taillante (2). 

Aiguille du Plat {3). 
*Aiguille des Arias (3). 

Tete de I'Etret (3). 

Dome de Chasseforet (4). 
*Pointe des Sengies (4). 

Tour Noir (5). 
*Grande Fourche (5). 

Petites Jorasses (5). 
*Les Droites (5). 
*Les Courtes (5). 
*Mont Brule (6). 
*Fusshorn (8). 
*Gross Engelhorn (8). 

Klein Spannort (8). 
*Grosse Windgalle, higher point (10). 
*Pizzo Bianco, Bernina (12). 

Pizzo del Ferro (12). 

Recastello, Berg. (17). 



Brie Froid (2). 

Meije, highest point (3). 
*Pic d'Olan {3). 
*Pic Sans Norn (3). 
*Grande Sagne {3). 
*Pic Coolidge (3). 
*Cime de Clot-Chatel (3). 
*Sirac (3). 

Plaret (3). 

Pic des Aupillous (3). 

Roche du Grand Galibier (3). 

Dome de I'Arpont (4). 

Pointe de la Sana (4). 

Ondezana (4). 

Grand Nomenon (4). 
*Mont Blanc de Courmayeur (5). 
*Aiguille Noire de Peteret (5). 

Monte di Scerscen (12). 

Kiichelspitze (14). 

Jof del Montasio (20). 


*Cimadi Nasta (i). 

Brec de Chambeyron (2). 

Pointe de la Font Sancte (2). 
*Pic du Thabor (2). 
*Les Bans (3). 

Meije, E. peak (3). 

Pic Gaspard (3). 

Pointe du Vallon des Etages (3). 
*Pic des Areas {3). 
*Aiguille du Soreiller (3). 
*Southern Aiguille d'Arves (3). 
*Northern Aiguille d'Arves (3). 
*Aiguille de Peclet (4). 
*Pointe de la Galise (4). 

Grande Aiguille Rousse (4). 

Roc du Mulinet (CimaMartellot) (4). 
*Mont Maudit (5). 
*Grand Dru (5). 

Aiguille des Glaciers (5). 

Mittaghorn (8). 

Elferkofel (19)- 

Sass Rigais (Geislerspitzen) (19). 

Croda da Lago, higher peak (19). 

Sasso Vernale (19). 

Paladi San Martino (19.) 

Kellerwand (20). 


*Punta deir Argentera (i). 

*Monte Matto (i). 

*Aiguille de Chambeyron (2). 

* Pointe Haute de Mary (2). 

Tete des Toillies (2). 
*Pave (3). 
*Pie du Says (3). 
*Pic de Verdonne (3). 
*Pic Bonvoisin (3). 

Tete de Lauranoure (3). 

Punta di Forzo (4). 
*Grand Sertz (4). 
*Aiguille de Talefre (5). 

Petit Dru (5). 

Pointe de Brieolla (6). 
*Sonnighorn (7). 
*Dtirrenhorn (7). 

Pizzo di Dosde (12). 

Zsigmondyspitze (iS). 

W. or Vordere Zinne (19). 

Vernel (19). 
*Cima di Canali (19). 


Beeea du Lac (4). 

Pointe du Chatelard (4). 
*Aiguille des Grands Charmoz (5). 
*Aiguille du Tacul (5). 
*Geisshorn (8). 
*Cima d'Ambies (17). 
*Fussstein (18). 

Grohmannspitze (19). 

Grosse Furquetta (19). 
*Cinque Torri (19). 

Innerkoflerthurm (19). 


* Pointe des Henvieres (2). 

*Panestrel (2). 

*Pic du Pelvat (2). 

*Visolotto (2). 

*Aiguille de Jean Rostan {2). 

*Fifre (3). 

Grande Arolla (4). 

Becca di Monciair (4). 
*Aiguille de Grepon (5). 
*D6me de Rochefort (5). 

Tour St. Martin (8). 
*Siedel Rothhorn (9). 

Pizzo di Scais (17). 

VajoUetthurm (19). 

Kleine Zinne (19). 

Sasso di Mur {19). 




Rocca Bernauda (2). 
*Levannetta (4). 
*Aiguille du Geant (5). 
*Calotte de Rochefort (5). 
*Pointe de Mourti (6). 

Tschingelochtighorn (8). 

Tiefenstock (8). 

Banhorn (9). 
*Piz Prievlusa (12). 

Pizzo Torrone (12). 

Dosson di Genova (17). 
*Tone di Brenta (17). 
*Dirupi di Larsec (19). 


Tete de Moyse or de I'Oronaye (2). 

Aiguille de la Varappe, highest of the 

Aiguilles Dorees (5). 
*Les Periades (5). 

Sattelhorn (8). 
*Lentahorn (9). 

Pizzo Terre {9). 

Piz Bacone (12). 

Piz Schumbraida (12). 

Monte Cornacchia (12). 

Monte del Ferro (12). 

Croda Grande (19). 


*Punta Gastaldi (2). 

Pointe Renod (4). 

Pointe de I'Echelle (4). 
*Pointe de Piatou (4). 
*Punta Francesetti (4). 

Cima Monfret (4). 
*Punta della Gura (4). 
*Bieshorn (6). 
*Klein Bietschhorn (8). 

Schonbiihlhorn (8). 

Galmi (8). 
*Wendenhorn (8). 
*Funffingerspitze (8). 

Pizzo dei Piani (9). 

Piz Timun (13). 

Stammerspitz (14). 

Kuchenspitze (14). 

Crozzon di Brenta (17). 

Croda da Lago, lower peak (19). 

Punta Bonneval (4). 
*Grivoletta (4). 

*Punta Budden (4). 

*Tete de la Tribulation (4). 

*Aiguille Blanche de Peteret (5). 

Grand Darrei (5). 

Pointe des Genevois (6). 

Gross Hohwanghorn (6). 

Gross Nassihorn (8). 

Kamm (8). 

Wasenhorn (8). 
*Pizd'Albana (13). 

Campanile di Brenta (17). 

Central Grasleitenspitze (19). 

Before 1886 
Cherbadung (9). 


*Pic du Clapier du Peyron (3). 

Monte Nero (4). 
*Dents de Bertol (6). 
*Ober Mominghorn (6). 
*Huhnerstock (8). 
*01menhorn (8). 

Thieralplistock (8). 

Dreilanderspitz (14). 

Cima della Madonna (19). 


*Tete de Vautisse (3). 

*Pic Bourcet (3). 

*Pic des Pres les Fonds (3). 

*Cime du Grand Sauvage (3). 

*Mont Savoyat (3). 

* Pointe de la Gliere (4). 

*Cime d'Oin (4). 

Aiguille Verte de Valsorey (6). 
*Crete de Millon (6). 

Stecknadelhorn (7). 

Ankenballi (8). 
*King's Peak, Engelhorner (8). 
*Fermedathurm (19). 

Before 1888 
Punta Nera, Grivola (4). 


*Peou Roc (2). 
*Becca di Noaschetta (4). 
*Tete de Valnontey (4). 
*Cresta Gastaldi (4). 

Aiguille de la Neuvaz (5). 

Aiguilles Rouges du Dolent (5). 

Bachlistock (8). 

Sciora di dentro (12). 

Thorwache (14). 



Pic du Ribon (4). 

Pointe de la Goletta (4). 
*Cime de Quart dessus (4). 
*Punta del Broglio (4). 

Pointe des Pattes des Chamois (4). 
*Becca di Suessa (4). 
*Punta Crevasse (4). 

Aiguille de I'AUee Blanche (5). 

Grande Luis (5). 

Gletschhorn (8). 

Fluchthorn, central peak (14). 

Busazza (17). 

W. Grasleitenspitze {19). 


*Pic des Souffles, lower peak (3). 
*Rocher de Pierre Pointe (4). 

Petit Darrei (5). 
*Klein Schienhorn {9). 

Monte di Zocca (12). 

Fluchthorn, N. peak (14). 

Fiinffingerspitze (19). 

Marmarole, higher point (19). 


*Aiguille Noire (Rochilles) (2). 

*Pointe des Cerces (2). 

*Pic des Souffles, higher peak (3). 

*Dents des Rosses (6). 

*Moine (6). 

*Ritord (6). 

Hinter Sustenhorn (8). 

Pierre Cabotz (8). 
*Pizzo di Pesciora (9). 

Hiillehorn (9). 

Cima di Cantone (12). 

Cima del Largo (12). 

Piz Plavna dadaint (12). 

*Punta del Tuf (4). 

Becca d'Arbiera (6). 

Pointe des Grandes Murailles (6). 
*Distelhorn (8). 
*Guschihorn (9). 
*Wyttenwasserstock (9). 
*Neufelgiuhorn (9). 
*Punta Mottiscia (9). 
*Gross Schienhorn (9). 
*Pizzo Columbe (9). 

Corbet (9). 

Cima dei Cogni (9). 
Cima di Balniscio (9). 
Cima di Vazzeda (12). 
Punta Rasica (12). 
Sciora di fuori (12). 
Pizzi Gemelli (12). 
Pioda di Sciora (12). 
Zahnspitz (14). 

*Dent du Requin (5). 
*Aiguille Forbes (5). 
*AlperscheIlihorn (9). 
*Weisshorn (9). 
*Piz Murtarol (12). 
*Piz Tavru (12). 
*Piz Laschadurella (12). 

Piz Zuort (12). 

Piz San Jon (12). 

Ago di Sciora (12). 

Piz d'Arblatsch (13). 

PizForbisch (13). 

*Combin de Zessetta (6) 
*Punta del Dragone (6). 

Cima di Livournea (6). 

Pizzas d'Annarosa (9). 

Cima di Saoseo (12). 

Piz Por (13). 


Cima della Maledia (l). 
Aiguille de Toule (5). 
Lonzahorn (8). 
Monte Valnera (12). 
Corno di Capra (12). 
Monte Saliente (12). 
Delagothurm (19). 


Steinlauenenhorn (8). 
*Kranzberg (8). 
Piz del Diavel (12). 
Cime di Redasco (12). 
Sasso di Conca (12). 
Piz Pisoc, S. peak (12). 


*Tour d'Arpisson (4). 
Aiguille d'Entreves (5). 
Hugihorn (8). 
Corno Sinigaglia (12). 




*Simmelistock (8). 


Guglia di Brenta (17). 


Kastensteinhomer (8). 


Picco Luigi Amedeo (5). 
*Gruneckhorn (8). 
Scheidegg Wetterhorn (8). 
Pizzo di Sena (12). 


Piz Grass (12). 


*Klein Nassihorn (8). 


Klein Lauteraarhorn (8). 


Aiguille de Pelens (i). 
*Aelplistock (8). 


Mont Brouillard (5). 


Dames Anglaises (5). 



N.B. — This List includes merely those general works which deal with the 
Alps as a whole or with one of their three main Divisions (Western, 
Central, or Eastern). A fuller list (by the present writer) will be found 
in the new edition of Mr. John Ball's Hints and Notes for Travellers in 
the Alps (London, 1899), while for Switzerland and the adjoining regions 
Herr A. Waber's Landes- und Reisebeschreibungen (Bern, 1899) is well- 
nigh exhaustive. 

Allais, G., Le Alpi OccidentalijteltAntichita. Turin, 1891. (History 
of the Western Alps to the end of the Roman period.) 

Alpi che cingotio r Italia, Le. vol. i. (all published). Turin, 1845. 
(Topographical lists and description, with heights, of all the 
peaks and passes of the Alpine ranges enclosing Italy on the 

Altmann, J. G., Versuch einer Historischen und Physischen Be- 
schreibiing der Helvetischeii Eisbergen. Zurich, 1 7 5 1 . (JThe first 
attempt at a description of the snowy region of the Swiss Alps.) 

Ball, John, Hints and Notes for Travellers in the Alps. New edition. 
London, 1899. (Contains full notices of the Geology, Zoology, 
and Botany of the Alps.) 

Berlepsch, H. a., Die Alpen in Natur- und Lebe7isbildern. Fifth 
edition. Jena, 1885. English translation by Sir Leslie Stephen 
(London, 1861). (Excellent account of the chief phenomena of 
the Alps, with special reference to the Swiss Alps.) 

BONNEY, T. G., The Alpine Regions of Switzerland and the Neigh- 
bouring Regions. London, 1868. (Deals mainly with matters 
relating to natural science.) 

Brockedon, W., Illustrations of the Passes of the Alps by which Italy 
communicates with France, Switzerland, and Germany. 2 vols. 
London, 1828-9. (Notices of the great Historical Passes of the 
Alps, illustrated by fine steel engravings.) 



Climbers' Guides^ 13 vols, (as yet). London, 1890-1908. (This series, 
edited and largely written by Sir Martin Conway and the Rev. 
W. A. B. Coolidge, describes for mountaineers the Dauphine 
and Eastern Graian Alps, the chain of Mont Blanc, the Pennines, 
(2 vols.), the Bernese Oberland (5 vols.), the Lepontine and 
Adula Alps, and the Range of the Todi.) 

Conway, Sir Martin, The Alps from End to End. London, 1895. 
(An account of a journey made in 1894.) 

Conway, Sir Martin, and McCormick, A. D., The Alps, described 
by Sir Martin Conway andpai7itcdby A. D. McCormick. London, 
1904. (Eloquent descriptions of the High Alps, with coloured 

Coolidge, W. A. B., Siviss Travel and Swiss Guide-books. London, 
1889. (Contains a history of Swiss Guide-books, of Alpine Inns, 
and of Zermatt, with a list of books relating to Swiss Travel). 

Cunningham, C. D., and Abney, SirW. de W., The Pioneers of the 
Alfs. Second edition. London, 1888. (Lives of famous mountain 

Grand-Carteret, J., La Montagne a travers les Ages. 2 vols. 
Grenoble and Moiitiers, 1903-4. (Reproductions of many en- 
gravings, etc., with letterpress.) 

Gruner, G. S., Die Eisgebirge des Schweizerlandes. 3 vols. Berne, 
1760. (A remarkably complete account of the Swiss Alps. 
There is a bad French translation by M. de Keralio — Hisioire 
Naturelle des Glacieres de Suisse, Paris, 1770.) 

Lendenfeld, R. VON, /4«j ^^«.(4/^^«. 2 vols. Prague, Vienna, and 
Leipzig, 1 896. (General account of the whole chain of the Alps.) 

Levasseur, Emile, Les Alpes et les Gra7tdes Ascensions. Paris, 
1889. (General account of the whole chain of the Alps, with 
notices of the ascents of its principal peaks : this work should 
be used with caution, as it is disfigured by many mistakes of 

Martelli, A. E., Vaccarone, L., and Bobba, G., Guida delle Alpi 
Occidentali. 3 vols. Turin, 1889-1896. A new and much 
enlarged edition of vol. i. is nearly ready. (A Guide-book to 
the Italian slope of the Alps, from the Col de Tenda to the 
Simplon, for the use of travellers and climbers.) 

Oberziner, Giovanni, Le Guerre di Augusta contro i Popoli Alpini. 
Rome, 1900. (Practically a history of all the Alpine tribes till 
their subjection by the Romans. 


Oehlmann, E., Die Alfenpdsse im Mittelalter. Zurich, 1878-9. 
(History of the chief Alpine Passes in the Middle Ages — two 
articles in vols. iii. and iv. of the Jahrbuch fur Schweizerische 

PURTSCHELLER, L., and Hess, H., Der Hochtourist in den Ostalpen. 
Third edition. 3 vols. Leipzig and Vienna, 1903. (A Guide- 
book to the Eastern Alps — roughly speaking E. of Sargans, the 
Fliiela, and the Ofen Passes — for the use of climbers.) 

Reinhard, Raphael, Pdsse unci Strassen in den Schweizer Alpen. 
Lucerne, 1903. (History of the great Swiss Passes, with full 

RiCHTER, E., Die Erschliessung der Ostalpefi. 3 vols. Berlin, 1893-4. 
(Detailed history of the climbing history of the Eastern Alps.) 

SCHEUCHZER, J. J., Helvetiac Stoicheiographia, Orographia, et 
Oreographia. Zurich, 1716. (In German. It contains a list of 
the Swiss peaks then known.) 

SiMLER, JOSIAS, De Alpibus Commentarius. Zurich, 1574. (The 
first systematic account of the Alps ever published. Re-edited, 
with a French translation and numerous documents illustrating 
the history of the Alps, by Mr. Coolidge at Grenoble, in 1904, 
under the title oi Josias Simler et les Origines de I'Alpinisme 
jusqii^en 1600.) 

Studer, Gottlieb, Ueber Eis uiid Schnee. New edition, by H. 
Diibi and A. Wiiber. 3 vols. Bern, 1896-9. (Detailed climb- 
ing history of the Swiss Alps.) 

Umlauft, F., Die Alpen: Handbuch der gesammtcn Alpenkunde. 
Vienna, Pesth, and Leipzig, 1887. English translation, London, 
1889. (Very full account of the Alps, mainly from the natural 
history point of view.) 

Vaccarone, L., Le Vie delle Alpi Occidentali negli antichi Tempi. 
Turin, 1884. (An outline history of the early history of the 
Passes of the Western Alps, with quotations from many un- 
published documents.) 

Vaccarone, L., Statistica delle Prime Ascensioni nelle Alpi Occi- 
dentali. Third edition. Turin 1890. (List of the high Peaks and 
Passes in the Western Alps, with the names of those who first 
ascended or crossed them — an outline of the climbing history of 
the Western Alps, and very useful pending the publication of a 
detailed climbing history of that part of the Alps.) 


N.B. — The details contained in the three Appendices are not included in 

this Index. 

Aa, Engelberger, ii8. 

Aar, river and valley, 7, 11 5-16, 124-5, 

173. 319-20. 
Aarau, 108, 216, 321, 
Aargau, 108, no, 125-6. 
Aballa, 316. 

Abbiihl, Arnold, 217-18, 261. 
Abondance monastery, 73. 
Abplanalps, guides, 261. 
Accidents in the Alps, 27, 210, 238-9, ' 

241, 243, 248, 250-1, 257. 365, 369. I 
Adamello, 26, 148, 204, 353-4. 356. 
Adams- Reilly, A., 230, 242, 309. 
Adda, river and valley, 7, 99, 106, 138, 

141, 153, 184-5, 283, 335, 347, 349. 
Adelaide, countess of the Tyrol, 133. 1 
Adelboden, 112, 116, 320. j 

Adige, river and valley, 7, 62, 67, 73, 

120, 122, 131-2, 136, 140-1, 151, 

184-5, 188-90, 221, 283, 336, 347-9, 

3SO, 354- 
Admont monastery, 73. 
Adula Alps, 105, 322. 
Aela, Piz d', 339-40, 363. 
^schylus, 52. 
Agaro, 65. 

Agassiz, L. , 306, 321. 
Agnel, Col de 1', 87, 162. 
Agordo, 139. 
Aichach, 144. 
Aigle, 92, 115-16, 318. 
Aiguille, Mont, 206-7, 221, 259-60, 

Aiguilles of Chamonix, the, 306-7. 
Ailefroide, the, 204-5, 295- 
Ainslie, C, 233. 
Airolo, 172, 178, 322, 324, 363. 
Aix les Bains, 85. 
Ala, 140. 

Alagna, 65, 219-21, 316. 
Alamanni, 65, 77-8. 
Alamannia, duchy of, 108, 119. 
Alaric, 77. 

Albaron, 299. 

Albert, abbat of Stade, 176. 

Albert I., Emperor, 130, 134. 

• — count of the Tyrol, 133. 

— count of Gorz, 134. 

II., count of Gorz, 134. 

— duke of Carinthia, 130, 134. 

Albigna glacier, 335. 

Albon, counts of, 81, 83, 86, 97. 
Albrun Pass, 99-100, 172, 323, 337. 
Albula group, 285, 332-3, 337-40, 

Albula Pass, 67-8, 72. 
Aletsch glacier. Great, 26, 217, 320. 
Aletschhorn, 318, 321. 
Allalin, name, 316. 
Allalinhorn, 313, 315. 
AUeghe, Lago d', 366. 
Allgau, 345. 
Aim, term, 10. 
Almagell, 316. 
Aimer, Christian, 24, 262. 
Alp, term, 10. 
Alpe, term, 2, 10. 

in, 361, 

Alpenstocks, 208, 222, 256, 258. 

Alperschellihorn, 339. 

Alphubel peak, 313, 315, 

Alpine Club, English, 210, 234-5, 237, 

240, 244, 257, 315, 321. 

Clubs, Continental — 

— — Austrian, 237, 240, 244. 

French, 241, 244, 

German and Austrian, 240, 

244, 342, 350, 352. 

Italian, 237, 244, 

Swiss, 237, 244, 251-2, 328, 

Alpine Griide, the, 237. 

Jo7(rnal, the, 237, 240-1, 349. 

Alpisella Pass, 184. 

Alps (general references) — 

accidents in, 27, and s.v. 



Alps, beasts of, 46-52. 

birds of, 52-4, 180-1, 207. 

Central, 96-123, 151-3, 158-60, 

172-87, 282-s, 317-44, 382-91. 
Church in, 72-3, 210, 212-15, 

220-1, 223-4, 232-4, 241, 

divisions of, 279-84. 

Eastern, 123-49, 151-3, 158-60, 

187-98, 279-80, 282, 285-6, 344-72, 


flowers of, 33-45, 55, 274, 278. 

■ glaciers of, 16-30, and s.v. 

groups of, 284-6. 

highest villages in, 73-4, 337, 


inhabitants of, 55-74. 

inns in, 3, and s.v. 

lakes in, 7, 303, 320, 331-2, 346, 

350, 354. 366. 368. 
languages in, 63-70, 292-3, 299, 


limits of, 3, 

pastures of, 

117, 164-5, 174. 

329. 350- 

political allegiance of, 59-63. 

political frontiers in, 87, 92-97, 

104-7, 147-51, 310. 335-6, 353, 369-71. 
political peaks of, 93-6, 104-7, 


population of, 63. 

railways in, 4, 189, 194, 196, 346, 

religions in, 68-72. 

rivers in, 7. 

seasons in, 273-8. 

snowy region of, 15-32. 

tunnels through, 4, 30, 36, 64, 87, 

160-3, 165-6, 171, 174, 177, 184, 

196-8, 206, 281, 293, 322, 337, 346, 

358.. 361, 371-2. 

views in, 208, 225, 259, 296, 300-3, 

338, 340-1, 356. 

watershed of, 5, 106-7, i47-9j 281, 

, 9, 280. 

1-2, 10-14, 30, 55, 

218, 220, 301, 320-1, 

357-9. 369-70- 
Western, 85-96, 151-3, 156-71, 

280-2, 284-5, 287-317, 373-82. 
Alsace, 109, 124-5, ^7^- 
Altare, Col d', 8. 
Altdorf, II, 117, 178, 329. 
Altels, 32, 318. 
Altmann, J. G. , 17. 
Alto, Care, 148, 353-4. 
Altstatten, 135. 
Alvier, 330. 
Amadeus iv. , count of Savoy, 201. 

VI., the Green Count of Savoy, 86. 

Ambin, Col d', glen and group, 166, 


America, North, 207, 231, 296-7, 397. 
Ammianus Marcellinus, 163. 
Ampezzo Pass, 136, 139, 152, 187-8, 

192-3. 362, 367-8. 
•- — ^ valley, 69, 139-40, 367. 
Ancien Passage, 27. 
Andechs dynasty, 132-3, 144. 
Anderegg, Melchior, 261. 
Andermatt, 18, 35, 118, 176-7. 
Anderson, E. , 234. 
Andrew, Dauphin, 88. 
Andrews, St., 229. 
Androsace, 40-2. 
Anemones, 35, 42-3. 
Angels, Guardian, feast of the, 332. 
Angeville, Mile. H. d", 211. 
Angrogna glen, 71. 
.A.nich's, Peter, Atlas of the Tyrol, 200, 

204, 215, 221. 
Anjou, 90. 

Ankogel, 210, 221, 223, 359, 361. 
Anne, Dauphiness, 89. 

of Bohemia, 134. 

Anniviers, Val d', 67, 309-12. 

Antelao, 149, 367-8. 

Antelopes, 49. 

Antibes, 289. 

Antonine Itinerary, 158-9, 183, 193, 

Antrona Pass, 99, 169-71, 173, 198. 
Anza stream, 316. 
.'\nzasca, Val, 11, 65, 96, 170, 316. 
Aosta, 16, 17-18, 27, 29, 36, 49, 64, 78, 

81, 85-6, 94-6, 150, 154, 167-8, 298, 

Apennines, 8, 280, 362. 
Appenzell, 11, 101, 109, 135, 331-2. 
Aprica Pass, 142, 185, 187, 189-90, 283, 

Aquileia, Patriarchs of, 129, 131, 133, 

137-9. 141. 148, i95j 197. 200-2, 370. 
Aquitania, 78. 
Arbedo, battle of, loo. 
Arblatsch, Piz d', 338. 
Arc, river and valley, 74, 85, 94, 164, 

166-7, 292, 299, 300. 
Archduke Ferdinand, 142-3 ; John, 221, 

224, 349- 
Arctic regions, 354. 
Ardez, 12, 201, 342. 
Ardoin, marquess of Turin, 82-3. 
Ardon-Chamoson, in. 
Argentera, Punta dell', 93, 288-9. 

village, i6i. 

Argenti^re, Col de 1', 90, 153, 159, 161- 

2, 287, 290. 

glacier, 27, 306. 

Arkwright accident, 27. 



Arlberg Pass, 135, 137, 187, 189-92, 

282, 341-2, 344, 350. 
Aries, 81, 200. 

Boso, count of, 8g. 

Hugh, count of, later king of 

Italy, 80, 83, 180. 

kingdom of, 81, 164. 

Armenzello, 316. 

Armies, 4, 56, 100, 114, 152-5, 157, 159, 

162, 164, 167, 172, 173-4, 178-9, 185, 

188, 201, 323. 
Army, Swiss, 268, 271, 344. 
Arnaud, Henri, 167. 
Arnica, 35. 

Arnod, P. A., 201-2, 259. 
Arolla, 96, 309-12. 
Arona, 11. 
Arpisson huts, 42. 
Arve valley, 88, 91, 94, 304. 
Arves, Aiguilles d', 294, 297. 
Arvieux, 71. 
Arzinol, Pic d', 225. 
Ascents, first, 205-38, 242, 397-407. 
Asiago, 65. 

Assumption, feast of the, 332. 
Asti, 205, 
Atlases, 200, 204, 210, 215-16, 221, 

Attinghausen, 11. 
Augsburg, 144-5, 152- 
Augustine of Hippo, St., 15. 
Augustus, Emperor, 76, 187. 
Aul, Piz, 213. 
Aureu, Cunu, 159, 181. 
Auronzo, 368. 
Austin Canons, 73, 115, 125-6, 142, 

168, 171, 308-10, 320, 345. 
Austria, houses of, 125, 128-30, 136 ; 

and see Habsburgers. 

Upper, 128-30, 136, 146, 345. 

Austrian climbers, 227, 243-4. 
Autaret, Col de 1', 167. 
Autumn in the Alps, 31, 51, 274-5. 
Auvergne, Dauphins of, 89. 
Avalanches, 21, 30-2, 175, 178, 224, 

258, 277. 
Avens, 44. 

Avers valley, 61, 69, 73, 105, 151, 337-8. 
Avisio valley, 69. 
Avium, Mons, 102, 180. 
Axes, ice, 202, 259. 
Ayas valley, 29. 
Azaleas, 37. 
Azur, Cote d", 287. 

Babenberg dynasty in Austria, 128-9. 

Baceno, 172. 

Baden, house of, 131. 

' Badeker,' guide-book, 322. 

Badile, Piz, 335, 339. 

Bagnes, Val de, 25-6, 95, 151, 201, 309- 

Bahama Islands, 207. 
Baioarii, 77-8, 127. 
Baker, 256. 
Bale, 109, 219, 226, 327. 

Council of, 177. 

Peace of, 121. 

Balen, 316. 

Balfrin, 313, 315. 

Ball, Cima di, 365. 

John, 8, 153, 230, 234-s, 237, 263, 

283. 300-1, 352, 354, 365, 367-8. 
Balmat, Auguste, 260-1; Jacques, 211. 
Balmhorn, 203, 318, 321. 
Baltschieder valley, 41. 
Bamberg, 129, 194-6. 
Bannholzer, Melchior, 261. 
Barbes, term, 293. 
Barcelona, 90. 

Barcelonnette, 90, 92, 161-2, 164, 287. 
Bardonneche, 64, 87, 165-6. 
Baretti, M. , 244. 
Barnabas, Pass of St., 179. 
Barometers, 208, 222-3. 
Barth^lemy, St., glen, 309. 
Bartholomew, Hospice of St., 190. 
Basodino, 104-5, 324- 
Bassano, 65. 

Baumann, Christian, 262 ; Peter, 261-2. 
Bavaria, Alps of, 6, 60, 82, 128, 144-6, 

154, 192, 196, 285, 343-6, 391. 
dynasties in, 59, 84, 119, 123-4, 

127-8, 131-2, 135-7, 143-6, 154, 189, 

Bears, 46-8, 181, 311. 
Beasts of the Alps, 46-52. 
Beatrice, countess of Provence, 90. 

Dauphiness, 88. 

Beaufoy, Colonel, 211, 228. 

Beaupr^, lord of, 207. 

Beaurain's map, 200. 

Beckenried, 256. 

Bedretto, Val, 324. 

Beichgrat peak, 42. 

Beich Pass, 216. 

Bela IV. , king of Hungary, 129. 

Belalp, 323. 

Belgium, 291. 

BeUino, 87. 

Bellinzona, 62, 98-9, 100-2, 322, 325. 

Canton of, 102. 

Belluno, 137-9, 141 148-9, 188, 192-3. 

362, 370. 
Benedictines, 16, 73, 117-18, 179, 203, 

206, 212, 287, 320, 326-8. 


B^rarde, La, 296. 
Berchtesgaden, 142-3, 146, 345, 
Berchtold of Babenberg, 128. 

of Zaringen, 108. 

Berengar, Raymond, iv, count of 
Provence, 90. 

marquess oflvrea, later king of 

Italy, 128, 180, 191, 

Berg, term. 2, 10. 

Bergaraasca, the, 141, 148, 190, 353. 

Bergamasque Alps, 11, 355-6, 393. 

Bergamo, 138, 141, 190, 355. 

Bergschrund, 22. 

Bergiin Dolomites, 339, 363. 

Berisal, 41. 

Bernard of Menthon, St., 168, 308. 

Pass, Great St., 30, 33, 64, 73, 83. 

150, 152-5, 157-8, 165, 168-9, 171, 

183, 198, 210, 220, 258, 281, 308-9. 
Pass, Little St., 64, 73, 152, 155, 

157-8, 167-9, 200, 281. 

uncle of Charles the Great, 169. 

Bernardino of Siena, St. , 102, 180. 
Pass, San, 102, 153, 177, 180-2, 

Berne, Canton, 18, 29, 47, 97, 108, 113, 

town, 47, 92, 99, 109, 114-17, 125-6, 

173, 219, 225, 229, 317-20, 328. 
Bernese Alps, or Bernese Oberland, 6, 

26, 42, 58, 72-3, 112-16, 125-6, 172-5, 

203-4, 208-9, 216-19, 225-6, 229, 236, 

261-2, 281, 285, 306, 308, 311, 317- 

22, 324, 356, 382-5. 
Bernfaller, cure, 220. 
Bernina Alps, 26, 106, 282, 285, 332- 

7. 340. 388-9. 
Pass, 5, 106, 184, 333. 

Piz, 106, 227, 295, 334. 

Besetzerschaft, term, 13. 

Besimauda, 288-9, SS^^ 

Besitzerschaft, term, 13. 

Bessanese, 299. 

Bessans, 167. 

Beverin, Piz, 207-8, 

Bex, 29, 203. 

Bianco, Pizzo, 211. 

Biandrate, counts of, 170, 200, 

Biasca, loi, 179. 

Biegno, term, 27. 

Bielerhohe Pass, 185. 

Bies glacier, 31-2. 

Bietschhorn, 204, 236, 318, 321, 

Biner, Franz, 223. 

Binn valley, 172, 322. 

Bionnassay glacier, 306. 

Birds of the Alps, 52-4, i8o-r, 207. 

Birkbeck, J., 233. 

Birmingham, 234, 

Birnbaumer Wald, 3, 158-9, 187, 197, 

Bischoffs, guides, 262. 
Bivio-Stalla, 182. 
Black Forest, 124. 
Blacken Alp, 11, 117, 
Black Sea, 7, 106, 338. 
Blacksmiths, 255, 263. 
Blackwell, E. J., 231-3, 262. 
Bladen, 66. 

Blaiti^re, Aiguille de, 307. 
Blanc, Col, 229. 
Mont, chain of, 19, 26, 64, 94, 

210, 232-3, 242-3, 260, 281, 285, 303- 

7. 312-14. 378-9. 
Mont, peak, 6, 16, 27, 60, 95, 203, 

210-11, 215, 228-9, 230-4, 236, 242, 

250. 255. 281, 288-9, 298, 304-6, 312 ; 

name of, 16, 203, 305. 

de Courmayeur, Mont, 95. 

du Tacul, Mont, 233. 

Blanche, Dent, 67, 311, 315. 

de P^tdret, Aiguille, 242. 

Porte, 313. 

Roche, 203. 

Biandrate, counts of, 170, 200. 

Blaues Gletscherhorn, 216. 

Blaugletscherli, 22. 

Blenio, Val, 100, 179, 180, 325. 

Bleuer, Christian, 231, 262. 

Blindenhorn 104, 324. 

Blood of Christ, 360. 

Bludenz 135, 191, 342-4. 

Bliimlisalphorn, 236, 318, 321. 

Boars, wild, 292. 

Bognanco, Val, 171. 

Bohemia, 127, 129-31, 134. 

Bohren, Christian, 28 ; Peter, 29, 262. 

Bois glacier, 306. 

Boite glen, 367-8. 

Boltigen, 116. 

Bondasca glacier, 335. 

Bonfire, 222. 

Bonhomme, Col du, 35, 300, 

Bonifacio Rotario, 205, 343. 

Bordeaux, Bishop of, 88. 

to Jerusalem, Itinerary from, 158. 

Boreon valley, 60. 
Borgonio-Stagnoni's map, 215 
Bormio, 61, 74, 84, 98-9, 102-3, ^°^' 

141, 148, 184-5, 335-6- 
Borromeo, St. Charles, 177, 179. 
Bortis, Joseph, 217-18, 261. 
Bosco, 65, 324. 
Boser Faulen, 331. 
Boso, count of Aries, 89. 
count of Vienne, 80. 



Bosses du Dromadaire, 211, 233-4. 

Bossons glacier, 27, 306. 

Botany, 30, 203, 223, 230, 294. 

Botzen, 132, 143, 186, 188-91, 364. 

Boulders, erratic, 25-6. 

Bouquetins, 48-9, 302. 

Bourcet's map, 204, 215, 297. 

Bourrit, M. T., 210-12. 

Bramans, 166. 

Brandenburg, 144. 

Brantschen, J., 262. 

Braulius, Mons, 185. 

Braus, Col de, 8, 161. 

Bregaglia, Val, 62, 66, 71, loi, 105, 

119-20, 182-3, 333, 335, 338. 
Bregalga glen, 338. 
Bregenz, 135, 190-1. 
Breil, 61. 

Breithorn (Lauterbrunnen), 318. 
(Zermatt), 212, 228, 260, 312-13, 

Brembana, Val, 355. 
Brenner Pass, 4, 132, 134, 136-7, 150, 

153-4. 157-8, 175. 183, 186-8, 192-3, 

198, 282, 347, 352. 
Brenta, Bocca di, 354. 

Cimadi, 354. 

Crozzon di, 354. 

Dolomites, 148, 230, 354, 363, 393. 

Fulmini di, 354. 

Brenva, Col de la, and glacier, 236, 304, 

306, 313-14- 
Breones, 187. 
Brescia, 138, 141, 283. 
Bresse, 91. 
Breuni, 187. 
Breviary of Gap, 83. 
Brian9on, 87, 162-3. 
Brian9onnais, 87-8. 
Brice, St., 360. 
Bridges, 35, 176-7, 310. 
Brieg, 65, iii, 171. 
Brienz, 113, 116. 

Lake of, 7, 116, 317, 346. 

Briga, Mons, 171. 

Brigels, 329. 

Bristen, 328. 

Brittany, 2^9. 

Brixen, bishopric of, 62, 69, 72, 129, 

132-3, 139. 142-4. 146, 148. 189, 192, 


valley, 143. 

Brixlegg, 357. 
Brockedon, W., 228. 
Brouillard glacier, 306. 
Brouis, Col de, 8, 161. 
Brown, Mr. Yeats, 218, 228, 262. 
Brugg, 108. 

Brun family, 122. 

Brunnen, 30, 330. 

Brunni Pass, 214. 

Bruno's lily, St., 36. 

Bubenberg family, 173. 

Buchenstein, 69, 139. 

Buchhorn, 145. 

Buet, 203, 210, 228, 260. 

Buffalora Pass, 185. 

Bugey, 91. 

Buin, Gross and Klein Piz, 340-1. 

Biindner Oberland, 67, 72. 

Burgdorf, 126. 

Burgener, Hildebrand, 262. 

Burgundians, 77-8. 

Burgundy, 108, 150. 

kingdoms of, 64, 80-1, 107, 

Burnet, W. , 19. 
Busazza, 353-4. 
Butchers, 264. 
Buthier torrent, 34. 
B Jtterworts, 36. 

Buxton, E. N. and H. E. , 223, 349. 
Bye-profession, 254, 263. 

Cachat, J. M. , 230, 260. 

Cade, Mr., 228. 

Cadibona, Col di, 8. 

Cadore, 193, 368. 

Csesar, Julius, 56, 163, 167, 197. 

Cairasca, Val, 324. 

Cairn, 219. 

Calanca, Val, 62, 71. 

Calderas, Piz dellas, 338, 340. 

Calfeisen glen, 68, 112, 328. 

Caliph of Cordova, 83. 

Callander, Mr., 228. 

Calven gorge, battle of the, 121, 127, 

, 135. 137- 
Calves, 13. 
Calvinists, 71, 293. 
Cambray, League of, 139. 
Camonica, Val, 7, 69, 141-2, 190, 283, 

Campbell, Mrs. and Miss, 211, 228. 

Campell, Ulrich, 17, 204, 343. 
Campiglio, 354. 
Campo, Corno di, 106, 336. 
Campoformio, Treaty of, 140. 
Canale, 194. 

valley, 194. 

Canales, via per, 195. 
Canali, Cima di, 366. 
Canaria, Val, 363. 
Canavese, 86, 94. 
Canin, Monte, 147-9, 370-i- 
Cannes, 287-8. 


Canons, Austin, 73, 115, 125-6, 142, 
i68, 171, 308-10, 320, 345. 

Premonstratensian, 73, 182. 

Secular, 73. 

Canossa, 165. 

Canterbury, Archbishop of, 168. 

Canvas shoes, 365. 

Capella, Martianus, 203. 

Caprile, 69, 107, 138-40, 366. 

Capuchins, 19, 73, 178. 

Caracalla, Emperor, 158. 

Cardenello gorge, 181. 

Cardinals, 214, 223. 

Care Alto, 148, 353-4. 

Carinthia, 27, 70, 78-9, 84, 127-31, 134, 

136-7, 142-3. 147. 149. 193-S. 214, 

356, 360-1, 369, 370. 
Carlo, Monte, 287. 
Carnic Alps, 147, 194, 369-71, 396. 
Carniola, 70, 79, 84, 128-31, 134, 136, 

142, 149, 197. 370, 372. 
Carolingian dynasty, 78 ; and see 

Charles, Louis, and Pippin. 
Carpathians, 8, 362. 
Carpenters, 214, 255, 261, 263. 
Carrara family, 137-9. 
Carriage roads in Alps, highest, 169, 

186, 336. 
Carro, Col du, 298. 
Carthaginians, 56, 157 ; and see 

Carthusians, 290. 
Casaccia (Bregaglia), 182. 

(Lukmanier), 179. 

Casana Pass, 184. 

Casse, Grande, 94, 235, 300. 

Casteldelfino, 87, 162. 

Castello, Cima di, 335, 340. 

Castelmur, Jacob von, 183. 

Castelponte, 87. 

Castiglione glen, 60, 

Castor, 312, 315. 

Castrozza, .San Martino di, 362, 366. 

Caterina, Santa, 348, 350. 

Catinat, N. de, 291. 

Caucasus, 243. 

Cawood, A. H., 248. 

Cayolle, Col de la, 161. 

Cengalo, Piz, 335, 339. 

Cenis, Mont, 10, 73, 82-3, 85, 152-5, 

163-6, 176, 198, 201, 206, 258-60, 

290-1, 343. 

Little, 166. 

tunnel and railway, 4, 36, 64, 

87, 165-6, 206, 293. 
Central Alps, 96-123, 151-3, 158-60, 

172-87, 282-5, 317-44. 382-91. 
Centrists, 245-6. 

Ceresole, Pointe de, 39. 

Reale, 36. 

Cerru lake, 41. 

Cervin, 35, 202 ; and see Matterhorn. 

C6sanne, 64, 87, 164. 

Cevedale, Monte, 148, 348, 350. 

Chablais, 85-6, 91, 92, 95, 115. 

Chalet, term, 13. 

Challant family, 29. 

Chamber, Imperial, 109, 121. 

Cliamb^ry, 85, 92, 165. 

Chambeyron, Aiguille de, 93, 291-2. 

Chamois, 49-50, 52-3, 207, 302, 311. 

hunters, 18-19, 61, 92-3, 202, 204-5, 

208, 213, 217-18, 222, 224, 260-1, 263, 
265, 288, 297, 301-3, 327, 343, 346. 

Chamonix, Aiguilles of, 306-7. 

— guides at, 260-1. 

Priory and valley, 15, 16, 22, 23, 

26, 73, 88, 91, 94, 201, 203, 211, 231, 

238, 260, 294, 306-7, 315. 
Chamoson, Ardon-, iii. 
Champ, Creux de, 37. 
Champsaur, 87-8. 
Charbonel, Pointe de, 299. 
Charles Borromeo, St., 177, 179. 

the Bald, 79-80, 165. 

the Bold, 165. 

the Fat, 80, 195. 

the Great, 78, 97, 101-2, 119, 127, 

153, 163, 188. 
— — son of Charles the Great, 154, 

son of Lothair, 79. 

IV., Emperor, 81, 86, 88, 138, 183, 

190, 195, 198. 

v.. Emperor, 98. 

v., king of France, 81, 88. 

VIII., king of France, 164, 207, 


of Anjou, 90. 

Charlet, guide, 260. 

Charmaix, Notre Dame du, 165. 

Charmey, 66. 

Charmians, 40. 

Charraoz, Aiguille des Grands, 242, 

Charpentier, J. de, 26. 
Chateau Dauphin, 87, 162. 

d'Oex, 66, 117. 

Chatclet, 66, 320. 

Chatillon, La Tour-, family, 111-14, 

Chaucer, 203, 292. 
Cheese, 12, 22, 266, 276, 301. 
Chermontane pastures, 310. 
Chiavenna, 61, 98-9, 101-4, 141, 180-2, 

184, 337. 
Chiese river, 354. 



Chisone valley, 64, 86-7, 92, 151, 164, 

Chiusaforte, 196. 
Choughs, 53-4. 
Chouson, 316. 
Christopher, St., 200, 263. 

Hospice of, 191. 

Chrysanthemums, 42. 

Chunard, Piz, 204, 343. 

Church in the Alps, 72-3, 210, 212-15, 

220-1, 223-4, 232-4, 241. 
Churchyard, 361. 
Churwalden monastery, 182. 
Ciamarella, 299. 
Cilli, 9, 369. 
Cimbro, 65. 

Cimone della Pala, 149, 204, 365-6. 
Cisalpine Republic, 99, 103, 141-2, 181. 
Cisjurane Burgundy, 80. 
Cistercians, 73. 
Civetta, Monte, 149, 366, 368. 
Cividale, 148, 194. 
Clair^e valley, 87. 
Clapier, Col de, 166. 

Mont, 61, 156, 160, 288-9. 

Clariden glacier, 327. 

Claudian, 15. 

Claws, iron, 202, 259. 

Clematis, 38. 

Clement, J. M., 211. 

Cles, 189. 

Climbing shoes, 365. 

Clovis, 77. 

Club huts, 239, 242, 250, 342, 350, 352. 

Cluny monastery, 83, 168. 

Cluse, St. Michel de la, 73. 

term, 195. 

Coaz, J., 227. 334. 

Cobweb Houseleek, 45. 

Coca, Pizzo di, 355. 

' Cockpit of Europe,' 291. 

Coglians, Monte, 147, 149, 371. 

Cogne, 35, 38-9, 42, 44, 48, 200, 229, 

Coins found on passes, 158, 297. 
Coire, 49, 67, 83, 120, 122, 135, 154, 

180, 184, 191-2, 344. 
Bishop of, 62, 72, 101-2, 119-22, 

181-2, 185, 190-1. 
Cold, protection against, 259. 
Colgrove, J. B. , 248. 
CoUon, Mont, and pass, 169, 228-9, 

309, 311. 
Colomb, Mont, 311. 
Colours in the Alps, 38, 274-8, 363. 
Columban, St., 73, 118, 212. 
Columbe, Pizzo, 339, 363. 
Columbines, 34, 43. 

2 D 

Columbus, Christopher, 207. 
Columns on the Julier Pass, 184. 
Combin, Grand, 95, 234, 311. 
Communes, Col des Granges, 161. 
Comuni, Sette, 65. 

Tredici, 66. 

Conio, 98. 

Bishop of, 101-3, 180. 

Lake of, 7, 182, 186, 324, 333, 

346, 352. 355-6. 
Conches, iii. 
Confinien, WeUche, 140-1. 
Confirmation tour, 224. 
Coni, 162; and see Cuneo. 
Conrad u., 81, 85, 108, 131-2. 

III., 195. 

the hunter, 204-5, 343- 

Constance, 190. 

Council of, 

Lake of, 7, 



Constantinople, 360. 

Coolidge, W. A. B. 

ences of, 24, 27, 

145, 191, 331. 

, personal experi- 
156-7, 161-3, 166, 

213, 220-1, 239-41, 243, 245, 247-8, 
252-4, 261-3, 265, 267-9, 270-8, 280, 
288-9, 294-7. 300-2, 307, 311-12, 
316-17, 324, 329-32, 340, 361-2, 

Cordevole valle}-, 69, 139, 366. 
Cordova, Caliph of, 83. 
Corniche Road, 3. 
Corsica, 289. 
Cortina, 69, 107, 138-40, 149, 189, 192, 

362, 366-8. 
Coryat, Thomas, 355. 
Costumes, 332. 
Cote d'Azur, 287. 

Mur de la, 233. 

Cottia, Alpis, 159, 290. 

Cottian Alps, 94, 284, 290-3, 373-4. 

Cottius, King, 290. 

Cotton-spinning, 192. 

Coupeline, Mont, 311. 

Courmayeur, 95, 201. 

Couttet, J. M., 211, 260. 

Cowan, Mrs., 228. 

Cowell, J. J., 167, 300. 

Cow-rights, 13. 

Cows, 2, 10, 12, 13, 14, 55, 174, 263, 

266, 274-6, 278, 301, 330, 
Crampons, 202, 208, 222, 259. 
Cresses, 44. 
Cresta, 338. 
Cr^ton, Tour de, 39. 
Creux de Champ, 37. 
Crevasses, 18-20, 22-4, 28, 202. 
Cristallo, Monte, 149, 204, 367-9. 
Croce Pass, Monte, 193, 362, 368-71. 


Croce Pass, Monte (Plocken), 124, 142, | 

152, 158, 187, 193-4, 371- 
Croci, Tre, Pass, 367. I 

Crocuses, 36, 43. { 

Croda da Lago, 242, 366, 368. 

Rossa, 367-8. I 

Croix, Col de la, 162-3. ! 

de Nivolet, Col de la, 167, 298. | 

Crosses, 201, 204, 214-15, 220, 261, 343. I 

Crows, 207. 

Croz, J. B., 261 ; Michel, 236, 238, 261. 

Crozzon di Brenta, 354. 

Crucis, Mons, 193. 

Crystal hunters, 260, 

Crystals, 15, 18, 19. 

Cuidet, Fran9ois, 211. 

Cuneo, 8, 82, 90, 160-2, 287. 

Cunu aureu, 159, 181. 

Curaglia, 180. 

Curmilz, 174. 

Curmvz, 174. 

Cast, A., 248. 

Cyclamen, 37. 

Cytisus, 37. 

Dachstein, 146, 223, 344-6. 
Dala glen, 112, 174. 
Dalmazzo, Borgo San, 82. 

di Tenda, San, 287. 

Damatter, A. , 263. 

Dame des Neiges, Notre, feast of, 206. 

du Charmai.x, Notre, sanctuary, 

Dammastock group, 317. 
Danes, 363. 

Danube river, 7, 338, 357. 
Daphnes, 37. 
Dauphin, Chateau, 87, 162. 

title of, 87-8. 

Dauphin^, the, 63-4, 71. 79. 80, 81, 83-4, 

86-8, 91, 94-5, 150, 162-4. 
Alps, 6, II, 26, 94, 163, 186, 200, 

206-7, 215. 225, 229, 236, 242-3, 249, 

263, 284, 290-7, 299, 301, 303, 318, 

336, 339. 362-3, 374-5- 
Davos, 30, 68, 72, 112, 120-1, 184, 

Delago tower, 365. 
Delphine, St., 88. 
Delphinus, 88. 
Deluc brothers, 210. 
Denis, St., monastery, 102. 
Desor, E.. 226-7, 261, 306, 321. 
Deutschruth, 70. 
Devero, Val, 324. 
Deville, Marie, guide, 26. 

Sainte-Claire-, Ch., 311. 

Devil's Bridge, 35, 176-7. 

Devoluy, the, 294-5, 297. 
Devouassoud, Fran9ois, 261. 

guide, 260. 

Dezzo torrent, 355. 

Diablerets, peak and glacier, 29, 225, 

Die, 88. 

Dieintigen valley, 47. 
Dietrich.-tein family, 122. 
Dimaro, 354. 
Discovery, Rock of, 220. 
Disentis monastery, 67-8, 73, 118-20, 

179-80, 212-13, 326. 
Disgrazia, Monte della, 106, 236, 289, 

335, 340. 
Divisions of the Alps, 279-84. 
Dixains, term, iii. 
Dogs, 308, 332. 
Dolent, Mont, 305. 
Dollach, 214-15. 

Doloniieu, and marquis de, 297, 362-3. 
Dolomites, Tyrolese, 6, 26, 69, 107, 
136, 140, 148-9, 204, 230, 234, 236, 
242-4, 247, 286, 297, 354, 36i-9. 
393-5 : elsewhere, 297, 339, 363. 
Dolphin, 89. 
Dom, 96, 313-15. 
Domaso, 103. 
Domjoch, 314. 
Domjulien, lord of, 207. 
Domleschg valley, 68, 120. 

Domo d'Ossola, 64, 171. 

Dongo, 103. 

Dora Baltea river, 298, 304. 

Riparia, river and valley, 64, 82, 

87, 92, 164, 292. 

Douglas, J. S., 342-3. 

Lord Francis, 238. 

Douglass Club hut, 342. 

Doveria, 323. 

Drac river, 87-8